I’m always rather cynical about politics, and tend to see it as something that is on a general downhill trend with no prospect of improvement. However, sometimes things do change slightly for the good, at least in a small way.
A while back – over a year ago, in fact – I wrote about one of the things I hate about modern politics: the fact that all speeches, all announcements, are leaked to the press, trailed in advance, revealed to the papers, so that no political announcement, when it comes, is ever a surprise if you’ve been listening to the news. If you’re going to do that, why bother to do the speech at all?
Well, the other day, the new Prime Minister gave his first speech in Parliament since getting the job. And noone, other than the government, knew what was going to be in it. It’s a small step, and I’m not suddenly going to start loving politicians because of it. It’s a start, though, and it’s in the right direction.
I got an email from Tony Blair today. Yes, Tony Blair. See, I must be important.
You know that anti-road-pricing petition that’s been spammed all over the net* recently? And how Tony Blair was going to respond personally? Well, I’ve already had an email from him. So there.
It’s because of a petition I’d entirely forgotten about signing, about how ID cards are a bad idea, won’t work, and will waste billions of pounds. Tony Blair wrote to tell me just how great they are, and how my participation in democracy is so important that he’s going to ignore me personally. Not just any of that old generic ignoring that everyone else gets, you understand. Personal service.
I feel touched. No, honest. See, with modern communication, the Prime Minister can tell me, personally, how he’s going to ignore what everyone else in the country wants. Now that’s what I call democracy.
* well, the British bits of it
Owning up to your mistakes is almost always the best thing to do. In an hour or so, it looks like I’m going to be proved wrong about something.
Specifically, something I wrote almost a year ago,* when I said: “at the earliest, [Tony Blair is] going to resign in the first quarter of 2009″. It looks, now, that I’m going to be nearly two years out, and that he’s going to give up power before getting within a year of Thatcher’s longevity record. On the other hand, I’m not the only person who was wrong. According to the article that prompted the earlier post, this time last year most Labour MPs weren’t expecting him to go until 2008. I still don’t believe he would give up power willingly until 2009, if he thought he could get away with it. I think that saying “yes, I’m going to resign, but not yet” is a bloody stupid way to run any sort of organisation, to be frank. Moreover, I’m wondering just how many journalists who have previously said “Blair will resign in 2008″, or similar things, will admit that they were wrong about it.
There’ll be plenty more chances for my predictions to come true in the future, of course. In January this year I said that George W Bush will still be alive in 2009, despite the “Nostradamus-inspired” prediction of author Mario Reading. I’m betting that my own prediction there is rather more secure than Reading’s – or than my earlier prediction about Blair. We’ll just have to wait and see.
* fifty-one weeks ago yesterday, in fact.