Thursday, August 14, 2008

The public - picking good politicians?

Two more social bookmarks. Firstly, Daniel Finkelstein: The voters always get it right. Cue a learned debate.

Exhibit A: The final Tory government of the 1951-64 period. Had Harold Wilson been able to call in the cops to deal with the outgoing Tories for what amounted to criminal incompetence without triggering a crippling flight of capital and a premature sterling crisis, he would have done so. The 1959 voters got it pretty badly wrong.

Exhibit B: The 1992 election. Even the Tories thought the voters had rather dropped them in it then. To elect a devided party was one thing. To elect a devided party with a stupid eurosceptic rump was another. To do so allowing the UUP to to dictate terms was about as far from government in the national interest as we've had since 1959-64.

Secondly, Pootergeek e-mails me this: How satirical TV shows impact upon political fundraising.

There is something about the way that comedians create the zeitgeist that damages governments (the Tories in the mid-90s were quite literally an unelectable joke) but the way that it would affect a political model that relied upon individual fundraising is quite another thing.

At the moment, it seems to give an advantage to a liberal-elites demographic, though there is doubtless a right-populist alternative in the post already. I'm not sure what I think about the candidate that can build their success on an appeal to that emotional response in the tiny proportion of voters that will fund the whole shooting match. Worth pondering though.

It raises further questions about the desireability of the Obama model of political organisation (smaller donations, lots of donors) that I touched on here a few weeks ago. Is this a process that is more likely to lead to good policymaking than our current model?


Mike said...

If Obama's backing of off-shore drilling, support of telecoms surveillance, and message to Europe 'Send more troops to Afghanistan', are anything to go by, he's already been bought and paid for. You need to look again at his campaign finance.

Anonymous said...

In any case, you can now vote online about the EU - at

Paulie said...

What a pile of horseshit that thing is. And what a shower of arseholes the people behind it are.