‘Honoured that you are writing my father’s biography’ the late Tony Benn, ‘...wonderfully written’ Hilary Benn

‘Sparkles with fascinating detail…a remarkable story of Liberal and Labour politics in the first half of the twentieth century.’ Michael Crick, Political Correspondent, Channel 4 News

‘Casts much light both on the evolution of British radicalism, and on the legacy which he bequeathed to his son, Tony. Professor Vernon Bogdanor, King's College, London

‘Brilliant biography…wonderful reading about the father and...discovering more about the son.’ Steve Richards of The Independent

‘Well-written and carefully researched, this fascinating biography brings to life a major figure in British political history…an excellent job of weaving together the strands of a complex life…as well as filling in the background of the Benn family’ Richard Doherty, military historian

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

The Politics of an Upturned Swan

Many good performers or organisations are likened to a swan – the visible parts serenely gliding along, while underneath there is a frantic thrashing of flailing legs. British politics at the moment is like a swan turned upside down. The country is actually relatively becalmed, but there is rather a lot of frantic thrashing going on in public.

The economy is growing slowly - not booming or collapsing. The stock market has finally regained a level it last saw years ago. There is no imminent election, no leadership campaign, no House of Lords reform and no rearrangement of the constituencies. No MPs have defected from one party to another during this parliament. Only two seats have changed hands at by-elections – one won and one lost by the Labour Party. The coalition is now into its fourth year. The major parties all agree, more or less, on education, HS2, green issues and the deficit. Crime is falling.

UKIP achieved an opinion poll rating of 22%, but this is less than half the level achieved by the SDP in 1981 and two-thirds of the level the Lib Dems reached in 2010. Europe is an optional obsession – nothing HAS to change and even if it does, it will not even start to happen for another four years. Only 7% of voters say that same-sex marriage will affect how they vote - and they are split with just over half of the 7% being in favour.

A stranger to British politics would ask what all the fuss is about. The same three major parties have shared the role of government for the last century - although at the moment it must look as though we have a Con-LibDem government and a Conservative opposition.

1 comment:

  1. "Nothing HAS to change". Well, yes, you're correct. SHOULD there be changes to the system? I would say yes.