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As the general election approaches, although I might offer a more detailed appraisal at a later date, it might be interesting to jot down some of my thoughts at this stage in the build-up to the big day.
The first impression I have formed is that the UK is being drawn towards a political process which is more appropriate for choosing a president than for electing 650, or so, individual MPs.
This, in my opinion, is unfortunate.
One only has to be reminded of the sainted Tony Blair's efforts to introduce a neo-presidential system into Downing Street to realise that rejecting the cabinet format is a recipe for disaster. Few would argue, for example, that his decision to go to war could not possibly have been reached by more established methods of governing this country.
Returning to this election, it can't be ignored that the leaders of the three main political parties have been invited (some might say, forced) to take centre stage and, in the opinion of most, young Mr. Clegg seems to have gained the upper hand. It's very easy to be wise after the event - but, this is hardly surprising because he has very little to lose. The other two leaders, on the other hand, have almost everything to lose.
My second reaction to the recent hustings is that there might be a case to abandon the three-party system of government. Putting aside the fact that the Liberals haven't played a significant role in UK politics for the best part of a century, the fact remains that they were the original opposition to the Tories.
In the meantime, the Labour party assumed the mantle of 'anti-capitalist' with some success. However, although their sentiments were to be admired, the simple fact of the matter is that almost all the world has come to recognise that socialism has had its day.
So, to conclude this summary, it might be time for those who despise the Tories (and there are many) to understand that a single party of the left would be far more effective that two.
Mrs. Thatcher and Mr. Blair effectively consigned 'old' Labour to the rubbish bin and Mr. Brown & Co. don't seem to be doing very much to dig them out. So, perhaps, it's time for the original party which supported 'reform' to be given an opportunity to provide the main opposition to the Conservatives and for New Labour to fade away into obscurity. Maybe, a hung parliament might be the first step on that journey.