Wednesday, May 03, 2006

New tune - Same old song

When Bill Clinton chose Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)" as his election anthem it seemed appropriate. The song was a classic, optimistic and evoked strong associations for what amounted to a generational shift in the White House. Later, in 1997, Blair tried the same trick with "Things Can Only Get Better" by a then contempory band whose name, as far as this author is concerned, is long forgotten. The line was optimistic, but the refrain was more a statement than a call to participation. As we now know, participation and public input into what was then only a vague agenda was the last thing on the preacher's mind.

Tomorrow's elections here in Britain are only for choosing our local governments and people tend to choose councils that serve their own interests rather than the nation as a whole. The national government's record however, goes a long way toward persuading voters about competence and intent. The now obvious hypocrisy of New Labour, combined with the betrayal of its roots and the scandals affecting half the cabinet would suggest democratic process is about to hit them hard. The "listening" promises of the last National Election are now buried in a sea of greed, corruption and sheer mis-management.

So back to the songs. Last night's election broadcast by the government was yet another excercise in psy-ops masquerading as a music video. Apart from a few Blair photo-calls, the images were a montage of contemporary landmarks and favourable social scenarios from around the country. By and large, none of them had anything to do with the government itself or it's failed projects. The music was another shallow pop song with a whimisical optimistic refrain I've already managed to forget overnight. In terms of association, the song wasn't even familiar (to me at any rate) and sounded far too youthful to have any serious voters above a certain age. It was, to put it frankly, cringe-making to watch.

It has never been more evident that this administrationhas completely lost the plot. Were this a general election, that broadcast alone would probably ensure their loss of power. Sadly, all they will lose tomorrow will be the swing towards alternatives in local governance and that is something of lesser consequence in an era when control of the nation's communities is largely dictated by central government itself. It will be some time yet before the voice of the people comes home to roost in Whitehall itself. Expect cosmetic changes at the end of the week as Blair changes the wardrobe he calls a cabinet. Expect little else.


No comments: