Tuesday 5 January 2010

Political Algebra

If a=b and c=b, then a=c. That was, I think, just about the first algebraic equation I learned in secondary school far too many years ago.

Over the last week, it seems that the Labour and Conservative parties have been going out of their way to argue about which of them is most similar to the Lib Dems. Leaving aside for the time being the big question of why either of them would want anyone to think that they're really Lib Dems in disguise, aren't they, in algebraic terms at least, merely highlighting their similarity to each other?

It could be, of course, that they're just relying on the well-known Lib Dem propensity to try and present themselves as different things in different places at different times. ("Yes, but are you a Tory Lib Dem or a Labour Lib Dem?") But I think it more likely that it really does highlight the extent to which the three UK parties are targetting the same small subset of the electorate with broadly similar messages, whilst the votes of most of the electorate are taken for granted.

It's a sad reflection on the state of politics. All three of them are reduced to saying what they think a small section of the electorate wants to hear, rather than offering any vision of their own for the future.

No comments: