Focusing on the Facile

The hounding of the British Prime Minister's attempt to sympathize with the Mother of a fallen British soldier last week, presages the flavor of the next General Election in Britain. Gordon Brown's political career has been littered with blunders for which the public could berate him. However, last week's bad hand writing and spelling mistakes in a letter of support to a bereaved Mother, was not one of them.

Nevertheless, the gaffes contained in the letter illustrate a breakdown in the quality and profundity of British political debate. It epitomizes the demise of British politics to its near vacuous nature and tells of the reason why the British public has no patience for the leaders of its country.

Proven to be immoral and driven by private gain, too many politicians have diminished the integrity once associated with British politics.

It is predictable that the banter between Parties in the run up to the 2010 General Election will not be a symposium for political discussion. Instead, the British public will be subjected to a spectacle of comical mockery in the form of personal attacks on Party leaders. Such discourse takes a form similar to the pre-election behavior of Electoral candidates in the run up to the 2008 US Presidential Elections.

In turn, this diminishes hope of the imminent restoration of the quality and probity of British Society. At the Labour Party Conference last month Lord Mandelson declared that the election is "not cut and dried." The inability of David Cameron and his Party to win the hearts and minds of the nation means no one can predict the margin by which Labour will lose. One thing is clear however, the election is "not up for grabs" for New Labour, that ship has sailed.

The fickle nature of British Politics leaves questions unanswered in the lead up to the election. Will an energetic new face emerge and create a New 'New' Labour? Even if this were to occur, it would be impossible to rein back the lost votes of New Labour's floating voters. Will David Cameron reinvent the face of the 'New' Conservatives, and present a favorable image sensitive to the needs of the British majority? An imaginative mind might even picture the Liberal Democrats galvanizing a new wave of public support through a stunning act of media spin. Or, perhaps there will be a hung Parliament. Who knows? One thing we can be sure of is that real political argument won't be restored with the current wave of politicians who seem to be taking us to ever lower levels.

Political leaders around the world are aware that 'change' is needed on a global political scale. President Obama's entire presidential campaign was fought, and won, on the promise of change. Such a promise sets a Herculean challenge sparking the hope of each individual that political modification will make a positive impact on their lives. Each person who voted for President Obama held a different hope. Most are now becoming disheartened as that hope dwindles away.

Political speeches in Britain now contain little more than empty repetition, all substance is lacking. The British public has lost respect and will not start listening until a new breed of politician arises. The new breed must present answers: Change to what? Change, how? Change, when? And, change, where? Furthermore solutions must be found as to whether there should be a greater number of smaller constituencies, with an MP for each constituency, or whether each MP should head a larger region? Where will borders be drawn? How will the budget of MP's expenses be calculated and who will keep track on their spending? How will crime be eliminated from our streets and the recently unemployed be restored to their jobs?

But, maybe the furore concerning MP's expenses in the past year will have a positive outcome by forcing large numbers of moat-owning, Mars bar eating and tax evading MP's to resign. Many have already indicated they will not be standing for re-election. The question is whether this is enough to really make a difference and spark a new era of real political debate with a heartfelt focus on improving British society. Unfortunately, this likelihood is about as real as Thomas More's Utopia. A new wave of politician might climb the ranks to Parliament but it would be foolish to think that the innate futility of British politics will disappear. So, what's going to change?

At the present time we can only look forward to the entertainment of pre-election jousting between Parties but without Politics. Instead, the focus will remain on the all important, yet facile, questions -- Which is Gordon Brown's favorite biscuit? How many Old Etonians drive behind David Cameron's bicycle? And, what flavor jam Nick Clegg has on his toast for breakfast?