Thursday, April 14, 2005

Stephen Pollard on the election

Stephen Pollard is a columnist for whom I have a great deal of respect, but his latest piece on the election is, well, a bit muddled if you ask me. He tells us:
In domestic policy terms I can think of only a few reasons to vote Labour. The real story about 5th May is, after all, that if Labour wins Blair is already a lame duck.

Even if Blair won with the same majority as Labour now has, the result would be, at best, treading water for two years until Brown takes over. Blair has been unable with his existing majority to get through his purported real agenda of reform, from Foundation Hospitals to top-up fees, without caving in to the Old Labour backbenches.

Which seems to me only partially correct. Yes Blair has failed to force through any meaningful reforms, but why Brown should be any more successful (he is after all rather closer to old Labour than Blair) is beyond me, particularly as any majority that Brown might have would be much smaller than that enjoyed by Blair at the moment.

But this isn't really my gripe with Pollard's piece. The problem with it is that he ends the article by stating:

But overall, I too will be treating this election as a referendum on the veracity, judgement and ethics of the Prime Minister..

I just can't believe that Pollard is going to vote for Blair on the basis of something he did several years ago in the full knowledge that he is going to be a lame duck for several years before handing over power to someone who is somewhat less likely to bring about meaningful reforms. There are really big issues around (pensions anyone?). Why should we be voting about a relatively piffling issue concerning a PM we know is leaving soon?

Sorry Stephen, you can do much better than this.