Sunday, April 24, 2005

Elections in the United Kingdom

It's election time in the United Kingdom! I've been going to John O'Sullivan's Election Diary at the The National Review Online for election commentary, although the mainstream media apparently judges the U.K. important enough for some cursory coverage.

One amazingly silly British election episode that hit the blogsphere (hat tip: Instapundit) is a report that the BBC launched a heckle attack at a Michael Howard campaign event. This is, of course, small beer in the United States: liberals have long considered the Republican attacks on John McCain (the 2000 South Carolina Primary), Max Cleland (his 2002 Senate relection campaign) and John Kerry (the Swift Boat veterans) to be so heinous as to be attacks on democracy itself.

On the other hand, it's not as if the BBC really needed hecklers. The Conservative's slogan for this election, "Are you thinking what we're thinking?", has me thinking that Tony Blair is likely to win a third term as Prime Minister. The Republicans have already tried basing a presidential campaign on the premise that their candidate can maintain brain activity, and although the Republicans did reasonably well they just couldn't get Bob Dole into the White House.

Shouldn't a British candidate for Prime Minister be aiming a little higher than this anyway? We're talking about an election in one of the preeminent humanist, artistic, and scientific nations in world history; whether or not actual thinking is taking place should have been a settled question a long time ago. And in a democracy, shouldn't it really be the electorate that is telling the government what to think and not the other way around?

The slogan that the Conservatives should be running on is not "Are you thinking what we're thinking?" but the nearly infinitely superior "We're thinking what you're thinking."


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