It's election year in the UK, and nobody is sure what the outcome will be.
People are concerned about the personalities of the two main contenders, and I have a slight sense of deja vu.
The 2010 UK general election feels a little like the 2000 US Presiential Election. On one side you have a knowledgeable, though charmless-looking incumbent (AG and GB); on the other, you have a charismatic, though fairly clueless, challenger (GWB and DC).
Well, we all know how the American public voted in 2000; split down the middle and undecided, the Supreme Court finally chose George W Bush after the fiasco of the Florida ballot recount saga. And the polls in the UK are getting closer as each week nears to election day early May.
Sometimes I wonder what people really want in their politicians. Sometimes I wonder if the people voting really care at all about who's in charge. Certainly, those undecided voters who voted for George W Bush were likely swayed by his "charisma". And some people in the UK have been swayed by David Cameron's "charisma". But in 2000 the USA was in an economic boom; in 2010 the UK is in an economic recession. So in that way, the rationale behind the UK electorate is much more important, as it directly affects the direction of the country. The Conservative plan to save the economy is mostly based on cutting public services to the bare bones. But this seems like asking a person on life support to go on a diet.
As experts seem to think a minority government (of which party, no-one's sure) is a distinct possibility, the Liberal Democrats may (emphasis on "may") get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to directly influence the government. Going back to the 2000 US election parallels, the Lib Dems are like the Ralph Nader of UK politics. I have to admit that of the "big three", the Lib Dems have some of the most sensible ideas overall. So they get my vote. Gordon Brown has his flaws, of course (who doesn't?), but he at least has more ideas, experience and (overseas, at least) respectability than David Cameron. DC seems a perfectly nice chap, of course, but I'm not so sure about the rest of his party. Oh, and if the Conservatives get in, maybe Alex Salmond, the SNP leader, will be cock-a-hoop. He'll have a better chance to convince the Scots for more powers and to try and break away from "Tory" England.
As a side note, it's often forgotten that Scotland joined with England because Scotland was bankrupt. Now that Scotland has oil, and England is bankrupt, well...