Left Out Liberal

A left-wing/liberal look at the UK's General Election of 2005.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Cat's Out The Bag

You can always rely on the BBC's Andrew Marr to get hold of stories before anyone else does. As political editors go, I rate him as one of the best, even if he does go over the top with metaphors from time to time.

In this case, he has apparently learned that the election will be called on the 4th or 5th of April. It's going to push Parliament into overdrive as it desperately tries to get through its bills on serious organised crime and ID cards. I'm sure they'll get the former through, but the latter remains debatable. It's currently gone to Lords Committee, and there it could stay for some time.

But there are a lot of other bills that are going to die, as can be seen on the Parliament website. Clearly none of those matter so much to the government. It's possible even the Gambling Bill could be in trouble, which is a bit of a surprise given how much work has gone into it and the trouble it's caused.

I'm both looking forward to and dreading this campaign. I'll be glad when it finally gets underway so we can see just exactly what the parties are proposing, and how they conduct real election campaigns in the eyes of the media. But I'm dreading it because I suspect it will be one of the most tedious ever, with parties desperate to outbid each other on populist grounds, since there is no such thing as ideology any more.

And it will be crunch time for the Lib Dems. Given the expectations on them that they must make serious inroads, they have no choice but to hit the ground running and produce a top-quality campaign. Anything less will not get them they coverage they need to keep in the running.

But there's still a lot to play for. The rate of polls per day will increase significantly, and we'll finally get to see just how people's minds are changing day by day. From a purely political science point of view, this could be very interesting.


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