This is how a â€œbatteredâ€? looking Tony Blair promises to govern the country.
His late night post-Sedgefield victory speech was a far cry from the Tony Blair I watched on Question Time last week. Back then he appeared arrogant and rude. How else would you label a pre-election Prime Minister who dismissively tells an anti-war member of the audience, â€œDonâ€™t talk to me about it. Talk to the people of Iraqâ€??
Honestly Prime Minister, do you need reminding that you are the very person we need to be talking to and that you are the person who needs to be listening?
Clearly he did need reminding and he was reminded.
Stood alongside him on the stage in Sedgefield were 14 other candidates who wanted to take his place. The usual suspects (Conservative and Liberal Democrats) were there along with Cherri Blairout-Gingham of the Pensioners Party and Jonathan Cockburn *suppressing school girl at his name* of the Blair Must Go Party.
The last two could hardly be considered a serious threat but I am sure many thought the same of Michael Keys. Keys, a father of a soldier killed in Basra, joined the race with his single issue campaign â€“ the â€˜illegal invasion of Iraqâ€™. He received a respectable 4,252 votes â€“ just 682 less than Robert Browne the Liberal Democrat candidate.
Mr Blair may have won in Sedgefield but I think Keys did a good job in reminding Blair that people felt strongly about his decision to take us to war.
Blair and his team may be able to dismiss the likes of Keys but when it comes to the Galloways and Laws of Britain he shall be forced to take notice.
George Galloway, whose comments about Iraq had him expelled from the Labour Party, took on Labourâ€™s Oona King in what was the election version of a Jerry Springer Show. Of the two I prefer Oona King. She is by far a nicer person. On the whole she has better and likeable views. She did however have one major flaw. She wholeheartedly supported Blair and his decision to go to war. Galloway took hold of this issue, set about appealing to the Muslim members of the constituency and of course he won.
On the surface, this election may have focused on the war and immigration but underneath all that it was about race, faith and nationality. In a constituency where Muslims make up about 40% of the voting public you canâ€™t afford to nor should you ever ignore them.
Over in the welsh constituency of Blaenau Gwent, Peter Law ex-Labour turned Independent, managed to win in what was tagged â€˜Labourâ€™s safest seatâ€™. Though this particular victory may have had more to do with local politics than national politics, it is yet another example of what happens when you do not listen to the voting public.
Law strongly opposed Labourâ€™s decision to put forward a candidate selected from a women only short-list. His argument was that this method failed to take into account what the voters wanted. Laying aside, if possible, the legitimate gender debates that call for more women in parliament, Law does have a point. His Labour opponent, Maggie Jones, secured her place as party candidate despite the fact that only 10% of the membership voted for her, and 85% boycotted the election process and refused to vote.
We may want to see more women in Parliament but we are not going to be manipulated into voting for someone just on the basis of their sex. This was the message that Blair should have listened to way back in 2003.
As for my lovely town of Lancaster, I donâ€™t know what went wrong. After 8 years of Labour I awoke to find that we had now gone blue!! Perhaps it was because our Labour candidate, Anne Sacks, was another woman only shortlist candidate? Maybe it was because she was new to the area? It could be that the Conservatives just campaigned a little harder and a little better.
I have no idea.
I do know this: after watching a close friend of mine canvass on a weekly basis for the Conservatives I have decided that next election, no matter where I am, I shall get off my butt and canvas for the party of my choice.
Oh well till next time but between now and then I shall continue to laugh at the following highlights:
- â€œWhy not leave todayâ€? â€“ Robert Kilroy-Silkâ€™s response to an immigrant who told said that he would be leaving England in a few months time.
- â€œHeâ€™s got Bushâ€™s attentionâ€? â€“ Chris Eubank on why we should re-elect Blair despite the fact that he lied to us.
- â€œPolish me timbersâ€? â€“ possibly what Richard Barnbrook, British National Party candidate may have said in his lead role in a â€œgay-Marxist pornographicâ€? film. Not a wise move for one who decides to join a homophobic neo-nazi group.
- Swing-o-meters,[via Mshairi] Peter Snow and Jeremy Paxman. In my mind the most convincing argument in support of TV Licence fees.