spiked-geist: Day 30

The most important election in history?; Guilt trips; Lower education

Various Authors

Topics Politics

After the Tory devastation, Operation Turnout has New Labour’s full attention, spawning history-making hyperbole and guilt-tripping.

The most important election in history?

Just when you thought Tony Blair’s statements could get no more grandiose, this morning he told a Labour Party press conference: ‘I say to people: this is your election, your moment of maximum power….You are in power. You hold the key to the future. You, the British people, are the boss….The future of Britain is on the ballot paper.’

Yesterday he beseeched: ‘This election really, really matters because it can, if the people decide, mark a real and historic turning point.’ On 4 June he told us, ‘Your one vote is the most powerful voice in this country’.

It is clear that the election really, really matters…to Blair. But no amount of cajoling on his part is likely to make it really, really matter to the people that matter – the voters – whether they vote or not. JA

Guilt trips

And just when you thought New Labour could get no more shameless, this morning Blair raised the spirit of the suffragettes: ‘The vote is a precious thing. People fought and died to get the vote. We honour them, and we honour democracy, by using our vote.’

On 5 June Labour called upon Sue Page, chief executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust:

‘There is one action I regret in the last four years. On 1 May 1997 I did not vote. I did not think it was relevant to me or to the health service. I was one of those who was apathetic about politics and politicians. I could never forgive myself if I repeated that mistake this Thursday.’

On 4 June Blair made a plea worthy of Christian Aid:

‘If your one vote on Thursday lifts one child out of poverty, gives one young person the chance of training and a job, gives one more person suffering from pain the chance of treatment they deserve, gives one more classroom the books and computers it needs, secures for one more pensioner a greater measure of dignity and decency in retirement, then you can be proud to have done something for yourself, your community and your country.’

And on 5 June he castigated principled non-voters for their middle-class self-indulgence:

‘Throughout this campaign, I have heard commentators who should know better saying this election doesn’t really matter, that there’s no difference between the parties; that there’s no point in voting. This is self-indulgent rubbish. Some people don’t have to worry about the savage fluctuations of boom and bust. Their children can be privately educated.’

If Blair wants people to vote, couldn’t he come up with some political arguments – rather than resorting to the lowest moral blackmail? The ‘anti-apathy’ crusaders in this election have consistently insulted the electorate, by holding us responsible for the dire state of politics, and degraded our vote, by demanding that we hand it over to parties we do not support. In this election, politics is important – voting is not. And given that none of the political leaders wanted to talk about politics, they are in no position to object when we refuse to vote for them. JA

Read on:

Politics is important – voting isn’t, by Mick Hume

Lower education

One of Tony Blair’s hopes for second-term Britain is that half of all young people will go to university. How?

There are about two million people aged 16, 17 and 18 in the UK. But only about 500,000 of them currently take A-level examinations. That means about half a million of Blair’s hoped-for HE entrants – and half of all university students – would have no A-level qualifications.

When it comes to getting a degree, it seems, things can only get easier. BON

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Topics Politics


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