The Other side of the Water
Here’s a trick for a journalist like me who’s stuck for an intro. You can always find a simple and obvious comparison. For example, if you’re talking about Irish politics the easiest thing to do is have a look across the water and say, God, what’s happening over there is happening here too, or is just about to happen (expenses scandals; three wins on the trot for Bertie’s bestest friend in the world Tonee Blair).
And to make it look like your really clever, you can use that most-frayed of quotes from Don Scottus: All comparisons are odious. To excuse the odious comparison that you have made.
But when you are not being less lazy about it, and delve a little deeper, the more you look the more you come to conclusion is that what separates us and the old enemy aren’t our differences but our similarities. And those similarites have been reinforced by unfettered access to British society. Our access to its media, TV and web gives us it all: the good, the bad, and Celebrity Big Brother.
I did a prediction piece earlier this week in which I proffered the view that the Tories would achieve a slim majority. I based it on a belief that this year will see Britian have an Obama moment (in terms of the need for change, rather than in terms of his ideologies being adopted by David Cameron).
The comparison is this of course. After three terms in office over here, I think that Fianna Fail and co will get the boot in the next General Election, much on the same premise.
One our our regular correspondents Dan Sullivan, posted a reply expressing doubt about the possibility of a Tory victory. That, I hope will kickstart a conversation on a fascinating political year in Britain. I’ve also included a link and quote from a very good piece of analysis that the Irish Times London editor Mark Hennessy wrote for this morning’s paper.
So here’s Dan.
“The problem for the Tories is that even with a massive win votewise that does not necessarily translate into seats. People often miss it (in large part due to the exit poll gap being 37% to 33%) but the gap in 2005 was only 2% in Labour’s favour yet they won 150 more seats.
You can try out some scenarios with the site above, even with the Tories getting 42% to Labour 29% they still only end up with a 20 seat majority. Hence the view that they will fall that wee bit short.”
And here is Mark, writing about the possibility of a hung parliament (read his full article here):
“The latest polls show that the Conservatives have a 10-point lead over Labour, with 40 per cent to Labour’s 30 per cent.
Election analysts divide on what such a result would mean, with some claiming that it would give Cameron a 22-seat majority in the House of Commons: a tighter margin than any prime minister would be comfortable with, but a majority nevertheless.
However, Plymouth University’s Prof Michael Thrasher’s analysis supports the theory that the UK is heading for a “hung” parliament, something that the British have never much liked in the past.
His figures indicate that Cameron would be 15 seats short of a majority, with 311 MPs, with Labour losing 100 seats, nearly one in three of its existing crop of MPs. Such an outcome could send financial markets into a tail-spin.”
What is the feeling? The first hung parliament in a generation? A record swing to the Tories? Or Gordon Brown defying the odds like John Major in 1992?