UK Prime Minister Tony Blair will ask the Queen to dissolve Parliament next week for an election in the UK sometime around May 5.
Technically Blair still has another year on his mandate… but as is common in Canada, he senses that now is the time to have an election.
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The Guardian has a good site that gathers the latest polls on UK politics.
The latest one, from March 2005, show Labour with an 8% lead in the polls. The Conservatives have never been the same party since Thatcher left.. and it looks as though they will again be relegated to the Opposition benches, or worse if the Liberal Democrats do surprisingly well.
There are definitely correlations to be made between the UK and Canadian political landscape.
Tony Blair and his Labour Party would be the Liberals. Though they may not share the “Natural Governming Party” status that the Liberals enjoy, Labour definitely has the broadest appeal… the Conservatives, are in constant dissaray, and the Lib Dems, like the NDP in Canada, will never govern because their votes are eaten away by moderates voting for Labour instead.
The Guardian has a nice interactive piece on the fall of the UK Conservatives… check it out.
While I certainly don’t approve of Tony Blairs puppy love of the Bush Administration… I don’t see any real alternatives. Certainly not the Conservatives, and I don’t know enough about the Lib-Dems to consider them. Perhaps it is best that Blair continues. Even at the height of his stupidity during the Iraq war it was Tony Blair who convinced Bush to go to the UN, and stay there for as long as he did… indeed Tony Blair was the only leader willing to sit down with regular people and actually try to explain himself and the foreign policy he was employing. At least in that sense, if Blair stays, we know that there is a voice of reason, no matter how weak with the Ear of the President.
And in a similar vein, Tony Blair made some interesting comments on Religion in politics in the UK and US.
“I don’t want to end up with an American-style type of politics with us all going out there and beating our chests about our faith,” he said.
Again, at least in some ways I see the Canadian and UK political systems are very similar. I just hope our values continue to have more incommon with each other than with what we currently see in the US.
In related news, UK Foreign Minister Jack Straw released recommendations from the Butler Report on what the UK government should do to avoid the controversy and innaccurate Intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq war.
A choice quote:
MI6 withdrew reports from three of its main sources on Iraq – including the source which claimed Iraq could deploy weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes – because of their unreliability.
A Downing Street spokesman said the government had accepted Lord Butler’s recommendations and was implementing them.
Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Sir Menzies Campbell said: “Accepting Lord Butler’s recommendations is one thing, but implementing them fully is another.
“Because of the restraints in the disclosure of intelligence, Parliament and the public have to rely on the competence of the people involved and the integrity of the system.
“These reforms will only be of any value if they enhance both of these.”
Might be an interesting campaign!