On the miserable morning of November 3, many a liberal woke up in America and wondered if they should really think about waking up somewhere else. If that somewhere else for you was the United Kingdom, cancel the plane tickets. Sure, Britain has a dazzling variety of candy bars not sold here, and those British mysteries are on the telly all the time. But the rhetoric in Britain’s current parliamentary campaign seems just as nauseating as the U.S. version.
The unbelievably stiff Conservative Party is, like its GOP counterpart here, waging a campaign hyping their “values”—as in, we have them and Tony Blair does not. “I call it madness,” Tory leader Michael Howard told supporters on Friday. “Common sense has been stood on its head. The victims have become the aggressors, and the aggressors have become the victims … Most people have no difficulty telling right from wrong. But Mr. Blair and his powerful friends seem ever ready to blur this distinction. In fact some senior politicians, journalists and broadcasters give every appearance of being on the side of the troublemakers, the rule-breakers and the mickey-takers.”
Meanwhile, the Labor Party is countering with silly slogans and transparent gimmicks. Check out the Labor Party website: Blair is actually pictured there holding a Labor Party publication titled “Britain: Forward, Not Backward.” (Hmmm. Bold stuff, there, Tony.) Answering the tired American reference to “soccer moms” is Labor’s targeting of “school-gate mums.” What’s more, Blair and his chancellor of the exchequer and rival Gordon Brown—who have been known for years to really detest each other—have made a film about how much they love each other.
At least the British election is unlikely to revolve around gay marriage, abortion or evolution. And there is a viable third party. Best of all, it’s mercifully short: Campaigning lasts but a month.