Disappointed Dodo?

Extinct bird meets modern politics!

The Dodo, icon of our time?  The Dodo, icon of our time?
In 'Alice in Wonderland' by Lewis Carroll, the Dodo said that "all must have prizes". By the time the result for the Mayor of London was declared and Boris Johnson won again, it was clear that the Dodo was not going to get its way in the local elections. Anyone who cares about democracy must be concerned that the turnout was so low and hope that the politicians have spotted this. The chances are that they have not, yet. First will come the excuses such as - the rain was nearly continuous on the day of polling - but this is clutching at straws. People outside of the London-centric political bubble could tell way in advance that public participation would be down. Had the bubble dwellers spent just a little time in a typical suburb they would have experienced for themselves the feelings of voters. The late Peter Cook, who was far more than just a comedian, gave us the line, "don't vote, it only encourages them". So it was he rather than the Dodo who got it right on the night.

In some cities voters who could be bothered to turn out had two ballot papers, one for local elections as per normal and another to set up an elected mayor system. The latter was generally rejected and represents a set-back for all three parties. There is more than a whiff of the EU behind this scheme so the Liberal Democrats, the most pro-EU of all the parties, take a double hit on this. Once for their generally poor performance in the local elections and again on the issue of mayors. And serve them right. They have always sold themselves as being good at local politics, a myth taken up by the bubble dwellers but as we can see not proven when tested.
Peter Cook Peter Cook

However, when it comes to being pro-EU it's quite a crowded place to be as the Labour party is in there too. They too will be disappointed that mayors are not to be. It would suit them to extend their power base and manage control freak tendencies via a mayor in all major cities. But as London has shown the ideal mayor has to have a strong personality. At the moment Labour does not have that sort of person to hand and, although in the normal local elections they did rather well this could end up a mixed blessing. For if a large number of voters switched to them simply to punish the coalition then there's a strong chance they will switch again at the next general election. If, however, they've switched looking for more public services but lower taxes then, in time, their anger will know no bounds when such a dream fails to materialise.

As for the Tories, another pro-EU party despite what you may have read, they too will have to forgo a prize. Some of them may like to hide behind the old excuse, 'mid term blues', but that's pathetic. The original use of this excuse was to explain why the public had turned against the government because of some policy they had introduced. But the fact is the coalition has not been busy introducing legislation. On the contrary, with few exceptions little has happened, the public had a high level of expectation and are now disappointed and rightly so. The present government has outspent Gordon Brown each month it has been in office adding to the debt and destroying its credibility.

But it's not just a case of angry voters in the UK. In France Lewis Carroll's Dodo will again be disappointed, no prizes for the existing political powers as François Hollande has won. And it looks like Greece will also throw out the old regime. You may argue that the reasons for the anger are very different in these three cases, true, but these things have a habit of 'coming together'. Ireland will be voting soon and Spain is still in deep trouble, it all adds up. And don't blame the Dodo!