In the old days of British politics, there was a 2.5 party system, consisting of Conservatives (Tories), Labour and the Liberals. However, since Tony Blair and New Labour winning the 1997 election, we’ve moved to a one party state, ruled effectively by a President.
This has been allowed to happen largely through the incompetence of the Tories in opposition, who have failed to capitalize on New Labour failures and weaknesses – the huge increase in stealth taxes, a war no one wants and the continuing decline of the health service, schools, the rise in yob culture etc.
But this isn’t a political broadcast, you’ll be relieved to hear.
The primary reason that a party gets elected is because of its leader. Indeed, Tony Robbins (of Giant Steps fame and a leading authority on NLP) simplifies it further. He says a party gets elected who has the leader who can most appeal to the three types of people; auditory, visual and kinetic. In other words, the winner will be the one who looks and sounds best will inevitably win – policies and what they say are largely irrelevant.
While this sounds ridiculously simplistic, when you start thinking about the results of most elections, there’s a lot of truth in it, though George W might be the exception that proves the rule.
The Tories have consistently managed to elect for themselves, leaders who are unelectable by the voters. They’re now going through another leadership election and one of the front runners is Ken Clarke. Ironically, he’s older than the current leader, Michael Howard, who gave age as one of his reasons for standing down.
Ken Clarke is certainly a popular figure, coming across as a bluff, no-nonsense, straight-talking guy you could trust your country too.
Good old Ken’s aides have just admitted that he refuses to carry a mobile phone. The impression they’re trying to spin is that he’s a dear old traditionalist, who can’t be doing with all this new-fangled nonsense and who calls a spade a spade.
But, to my mind, this makes him arrogant, out of touch and completely unelectable. This is a man who’s asking to be allowed to lead a 21st Century country where technology is central to the economy and maintaining the UK’s world competitiveness. Not having a mobile phone is about as clever as saying “Forsooth” and going everywhere by horse, these days.
Personally, I also question the morals and principles of a man who endorses and is paid by the tobacco industry (Deputy Chairman of British American Tobacco) and who can abandon his long held pro-European convictions for the sake of making him more electable to his party chums.
I hope the Tories realise just how much a liability Ken Clarke would be as leader, mainly as it’s important for UK plc to have a credible opposition party again. My inclination would be to go with David Cameron, despite his inexperience, or David Davis, but then the Tories don’t have a great track record of selecting anyone who actually stands a chance.
But please let’s not have someone who’s in denial about new technologies.