Political highs and lows


The BBC has released a video of the ‘Political Highs and Lows of 2008’. It features a host of BBC political commentators, as well as Esther Rantzen saying she would like to see Cameron become “older" and more “stalwart" over time (I’m not quite sure where she came from).

The consensus seems to be that the financial crisis has improved Gordon’s popularity, even to the point that Labour has a realistic chance of victory in the next election. It is interesting to see how poll results show the public as being unable to look to the long term, and to observe how fickle they have become. Despite many people blaming the government for the financial crisis and subsequent economic downturn, they are quick to forget this once they see Gordon Brown splashing billions of our pounds around. At least he’s doing something, they think, so we might as well let him carry on.

The worrying thing is, Brown's gesture politics could just work. There is a long list of examples where this type of tokenism has been believed and the government has come out relatively unscathed, or even benefited. To take a couple of recent examples: the recent reduction in VAT will have almost no impact on consumption and British troops will only be withdrawn from Iraq so they can go and fight a seemingly un-winnable war in Afghanistan instead.

The trouble is that people rarely look beyond the headlines (why should they, I suppose?), or the past the short-term impact of political decisions. That's why we're likely to see more of this sort of politics in the run-up to a general election, and not less.