Recently we've received through our door a couple of election leaflets from the Lib Dems and Labour. You know the type. The ones that have titles like newspapers, and dates on them, to make it look like they're put out regularly rather than just appearing whenever the parties want your vote.
Nothing from the Tories yet. But then, as the Lib Dems' Cambridge Herald reminds us several thousand times, it's a “two horse race” between themselves and Labour in Cambridge, with the Tories a distant third. They include the obligatory bar charts in case we can't work out what this means. The Lib Dems always do this. In Sheffield Graves Park ward, where they have a comfortable majority, they constantly tell us that “only the Liberal Democrats can beat Labour here.”
Well, yes. You already have. Well done. What have you done for us lately?
Amidst the uninspring localist waffle, the Lib Dems do take the time to remind us, what with this being a town with a few students in it, that they have “reaffirmed” their commitment to scrapping tuition fees. Good to know it was only the leader of the party who wanted the pledge scrapped last Autumn, then.
Moving on from the Yellow Tories, the Cambridge Rose is keen to show what a dynamic, campaigning organising the Labour Party is. Of course, to do this they have to distance themselves from the government. Gordon Brown is mentioned a grand total of once, as the candidate praises his plan for a pathetically low tax on financial transactions. “While the bankers got rich,” local Labour candidate Daniel Zeichner teaches us, “We suffered.”
Yes indeed. And of course, placing the financially sector at the centre of the economy, or rather placing the economy at the mercy of the financial sector, has been Labour Party policy for a long time. But let's not dwell on that, Zeichner pleads. Or even mention it. Labour's “top priority” is fighting the unemployment that their policies created in the first place.
And what does Zeichner have to say about a Parliamentary system mired in scandals?
“I don't agree that politics in Britain is broken. Where else in the world do senior politicians attend local meetings, come knocking on your door or sit in your kitchen to talk through the issues?”
I feel a warm glow inside.
A glow of rage.
Both parties are playing the we're-the-best-ones-to-beat-the-Tories game, and neither of them are telling us anything new. Just more bland platitudes about how they're working hard for us. Of course this sot of political language is designed to keep people's expectations incredibly low, so when whoever wins inevitably fucks us over, we're not too disappointed about it.
Fortunately there will be a Socialist candidate in Cambridge, putting forward a genuine alternative.