Ruth's Diary


"Hung Parliaments cause volcanic eruptions"

"Hung Parliament leading cause of Gay Immigration Cancer"

This one's my favourite: "Lesbian Afghan Child Molesters to receive Free 60" Plasma Screen TVs under Hung Parliament"

I'd love to see this on the front page of the Daily Telegraph: "HOLY CRAP Hung Parliament Elected; City Pidgeons mass defecate in Protest"

A lot of you reading this are probably wondering what the hell I'm on about. Well right-wing tabloids (basically anything owned by Rupert Murdoch) are over-exaggerating the consequences of a hung parliament and trying to scare people into voting Conservative. There's not only backlash to this but were also willing to see the funny side and on their website you can create your own scare-story headline on a tabloid front page. Options are The Sun, The Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph, although I think the last was only included for being a very obvious right-wing newspaper, since it's not a cheap tabloid reduced to scare-mongering. (Earlier today I was reading a blog by a Telegraph writer talking about the advantage of a Lib-Lab coalition over a conservative slim majority.)

Politics is obviously on everyone's minds with the election this Thursday. It's truly intriguing this time since no one can genuinely predict what will happen. Will the Tories win? Will there be a forced coalition? What was even more interesting/amusing was the reaction to the party leaders' debates. After the first one, everyone suddenly knew who Nick Clegg was and he became man of the hour. Pretty soon a smear campaign started and the Daily Mail thought it prudent to show how foreign his background is. If anything there is nothing more truly British than having a migrant somewhere in the family. It was fun watching the last one downstairs with my housemates. Well, a couple of housemates and some more friends. It was a party; we had snacks, beer, cider and crumpled paper to throw at the politicians we truly hated. Although while John chose to throw as much as possible at Cameron I threw more often at Brown. John truly distrusts Cameron while I've found that Cameron has (so far) done nothing to piss me off.

Earlier today something truly exciting happened. Paddy Ashdown came to my union to speak to us. The chairs were filled up, there were party officials about, the press and plenty of camera flashes were present. He was certainly a very good speaker. Although the biggest surprise was seeing Nick Chan turn up. Now Nick was People & Planet president when I was in First Year and he graduated that year. He's pursuing a PhD at Oxford at the moment. As for Ashdown, he was naturally bigging up the Lib Dems and Clegg as the greatest leader ever. He was certainly an entertaining speaker though and he really knew his stuff. He was quite honest and objective about the role of politics and the better of the Conservative leaders and was also honest when he admitted the Lib Dems hadn't quite released all the key figures in their economic policy. One problem was the government not releasing all the statistics but the other was that he openly admitted the party were all too aware that revealing the entire truth would offer the other parties scare-mongering opportunities against the Lib Dems. Very true. I also couldn't help think that if people had watched the Chancellors' Debate they would have seen Vince Cable in action and noticed that he truly had an understanding of the economic issues and was more willing to give examples where cuts would be made. Speaking of which, I was honestly surprised we didn't get debates of the Home Secretary Candidates, that certainly would have made things interesting.

Anyway, back to Ashdown. The local MP Mark Williams picked out the question posers and I asked the 2nd question^^. I asked whether the proposed 2nd elected chamber to replace the Lords could be populated by non-party members. The answer was no (not in our political culture) but he went on to explain that the candidates would be elected through proportional representation. So at least now I know what their entire vision is. The thing about Ashdown was when he was answering a question he would explain the entire contextual philosophy behind a policy, which was both enlightening and frustrating. The answer to my question above was heavily cut down since he was giving the list of problems with the House of Lords as they are now, including the problem that their decisions were often overruled 'cos they were unelected and declared invalid. Same with the question about EU relations, he talked about the changing international scene and how foreign policies of the other parties were so backward. To the question of Green Jobs he specified the differing kinds. He was even asked whether Britain would be heading towards a presidential system considering the impact of the Leaders' Debates (he fears this might happen but for the moment there's no moves towards that).

Personally, I'm hoping for either a Liberal Democrat victory (which people are pessimistic about considering they only occupy 62 seats in the current Commons) or a hung parliament. But if the Tories were to win, I hope that Cameron realises his role as a politician and actually engages with the public, because that's all voters really want at the end of the day.

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