Friday, May 06, 2005

A little less Labouritis

Well, the majority of election results are in in the British Parliamentary elections this morning (what in Britain is early afternoon), and as expected, the Labour Party has squeaked by with a victory. The Conservatives have actually picked up more than a few seats from Labour, though they lost three to the Liberal Democrats, the Tories gained more from the Lib Dems than they lost, and they have a net gain of 31 seats. What's more, the Labour majority is down to just 66 seats. While it makes more sense to send a message to a corrupt Government by removing it from power, a majority of only 66 puts victory within striking distance for the Tories at the next election. In every sense, many Conservatives are considering this election as a moral victory for themselves.

Now to the part that is bizarre: In most political parties, such a strong showing after years in the political wilderness would signal that the Party Leader has a stronghold over the leadership. Not so for Michael Howard, who has volunteered that he will stand down as leader after an internal dispute within the Conservative Party over how the next Leader should be chosen is resolved. His reasoning is that by the next election he will be 67 or 68 years old, and he believes that is too old to serve a full five year term as Prime Minister. Nevermind that some of the world's greatest political leaders have come into their prime in their late sixties, Mr. Howard believes that by then he will be too much of an old geezer to "lead the party into Government." One has to wonder how much of this is Howard's personal decision, and how much of the decision was made for him by internal pressure from inside the Parliamentary Party.

An aside: The Rt. Hon. John Redwood, one of my favorite British Conservatives, has not denied that he would stand for Leadership for a third time. I have always liked Redwood because of his strong Euroskepticism (opposition to the European Union, and by implication the New World Order), and dis defense of traditional values. Perhaps if he runs this time, he just might win.


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