S. Election is Still More Than 6 Months Off –
Can The Country Survive the Campaign?
In what has become the permanent Presidential campaign, the
United States is entering the final
phase of an election where the challenger, Mr. Romney, has been campaigning for
the Presidency longer than the incumbent, Mr. Obama. With well over a billion dollars yet to be
spent, this country desperately needs a distraction. Fortunately there will be
one in two upcoming elections in Britain
Presidential race is in its final stage, which is a run-off between
incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist challenger Francois Hollande. On paper Mr. Sarkozy should win, but the far
right supporter of radical nationalist Marine Le Pen has indicated that they
would stay home rather than vote for either of the two candidates, so Mr.
Hollande is expected to have an easy win.
are much more complicated. The
upcoming elections are not national, but local, including the Mayor of London
where a Conservative is favored. There
are two issues which are dominating politics in Britain England
and Scotland. The
first of these is the economy. Britain’s
economy has slipped back into recession, defined as two consecutive quarters of
negative growth. But the decline is very
slight, so it might be better said that the economy is just plain flat.
The prime minister admitted on Sunday that the past few weeks had been “difficult”, with the government plagued by controversies over the budget, a potential strike by fuel tanker drivers and close relationships between ministers and the family of Rupert Murdoch.
But he tried to get back on the front foot, telling the BBC’s Andrew Marr that ministers would “strain every sinew” to boost the economy after the UK re-entered recession this week.
He also tried to shift focus on to the eurozone, claiming the crisis in the single currency was not yet even halfway over.
But in a surprising development, the economy is a secondary issue. The major issue involves the Conservative government, a satellite TV Company called BSkyB and the ubiquitous media empire of Rupert Murdoch, known in this country for his ownership of Fox News. Mr. Murdoch and his son James want to increase their ownership of BSkyB to a majority status. Since they already have ownership of large circulation newspapers in
there is a questions as to whether or not it is proper for them to also own a
TV satellite company.
The government is supposed to be assessing Mr. Murdoch’s bid with openness and objectivity, but it turns out that the Conservatives who control
Britain’s ruling coalition have had
many secret meetings with James Murdoch and others, and may have been feeding
the Murdoch’s confidential information and secretly supporting their bid.
the campaign will be overshadowed by the controversy surrounding Jeremy Hunt, the culture secretary, who has been accused of promoting News Corp’s aborted bid for BSkyB instead of making a neutral judgment as to whether it should go ahead.
Mr Cameron knows that if he sacks Mr Hunt, he will come under pressure to explain his own relationship with News Corp, having admitted on Sunday that he discussed the bid with James Murdoch in December.
Instead, the prime minister has extended the row by several months after saying Mr Hunt could face a fresh investigation if found by the Leveson inquiry into press standards to have misled parliament.
All of this goes to illustrate the cruel, unusual, unpredictable and in some cases irrational march of politics. The Conservatives are falling in the polls
Opinion polls over the weekend showed the Tories at 29 per cent, an eight-year low, but party strategists insist the number is higher than previous midterm ratings for a party in power. They hope to benefit from the fact that voters still trust their party more than Labour on the economy.
and their message seems to be “we are bad, but not as bad as the other guys” which is hardly the positive note most politicians like to run on. But the Conservatives are falling in the polls not so much for their disastrous economic policy, but because they have apparently joined forces with the Murdoch empire and misled the public about it.
All of this is easily understandable given the aura of Fox News in this country. Other than extreme Conservatives, why would anyone else want politicians who are associated with them.