Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Where W treads, Rhodri dreads to follow

Not blogged for a while - been on half-term holiday, which I spent observing the run up to America's Congressional elections while visiting a friend in New York.
The bile which American candidates hurl at each other is astonishing. The defamation laws of this country would not allow it.
However, I was interested to note the average American is frankly fed up with the attack advertising. Many of them say they can't be bothered to engage with politics, or bothered to vote, because for them, politics merely amounts to a stream of very expensive television adverts in which politicians do their best to out-dis each other.
That sort of conduct doesn't prosper over here. Michael Howard's denunciation of Tony Blair as a liar flopped at the last general election. This despite the fact that many, if not most people, feel the Government was economical with the actuality when it presented its prospectus for war. We prefer – or at least say we prefer - our politicians to abide by the political equivalent of the Queensbury rules, not Fight Club.
And American politics has opened up a new dirty battle front – Wikiactivity. Candidates' staff log on to open-access encyclopaedia Wikipedia and doctor their opponents' entries. The New Yorker calls it 'astroturfing' – a phony grass-roots campaign.
Democrats are racing to victory because voters are using the election as a mid-term rebuke of George W Bush and his increasingly unpopular war.
Will Welsh voters do the same when they go to the polls in May? Rhodri Morgan must fear that they will. He said Labour failed to regain Blaenau Gwent earlier this year because voters "were angry about everything from pot holes to Iraq".

No comments: