Much of the American media has engaged in an orgy of “punditry” as various “experts” have expounded their theories as to what might should there be (to use that delicious British description) a “hung parliament”.
We’ve had very little information on the substance of the election campaign. I am led to believe that the three main political parties are each more or less centre-right (with the Liberal Democrats being a wee bit centre-left), and the voters are deciding based on the charisma or lack thereof in the three party leaders.
Certainly from this side of the pond the campaign has appeared to be the most “presidential” in British history thanks to the three televised “debates”.
In the British constitution (it is a constitution of precedent – not a written document) the Sovereign has the prerogative of asking any Member of Parliament to form a Government. If that member is able to do so, she or he then becomes the Sovereign’s First (or Prime) Minister.
I wonder if the royal eyebrows have been raised at the implication of this new “presidential” style election – viz that she is bound to ask either of Mr. Brown, Mr. Cameron or Mr. Clegg to form a government.
In these United States, over the entire social, political, and entertainment worlds, style not substance rules the day ( ‘Tis probably also true on the world of religion).
This came home to be yesterday when I received a glossy brochure from our Congressman, Vern Buchanan (R).
Buchanan is a party hack with no discernable personal convictions.
Thus his brochure is able to proclaim “I’m working in Congress to protect the benefits seniors have earned and the savings they have accumulated”.
The protection of savings is a worthy goal, but Buchanan fails to mention that he is opposed to the current Bill to introduce some sensible regulation into our banking industry.
Many folks have lost savings simply because since the days of Reagan there has been less and less regulation. (To his shame, Clinton continued this practice).
There is a contradiction between Buchanan’s promise and his voting record.
Similarly his “work” to protect benefits is in opposition to an Amendment which he is proud to say he has introduced into Congress to balance the national budget.
A balanced budget is a worthy and necessary goal.
Every independent economist or financial expert is agreed that in order to achieve this we must both increase taxes and reduce spending.
But Buchanan is opposed to cuts in benefits, and to tax increases.
I haven’t the slightest idea how Buchanan’s amendment would achieve a balanced budget without these two elements.
Nor does Congressman “Fluff and No Substance” Vernon Buchanan.