Sunday, 11 May 2008

Sunday Afternoon Musings..

Hard not to be philosophical on such a glorious late afternoon though supporters of Reading and Birmingham City may disagree. It certainly was a wonderful start for Conservative activists with an avalanche of good news suggesting not only a strong probability of a win in the Crewe & Nantwich by-election but also an increasing likelihood of a Tory landslide at the next General Election.

A few weeks ago I thought Labour could not go below 250 seats (still representing a loss of over one hundred) but now the "floor" seems to be nearer 200. In context, the worst Labour performance since the war was in 1983 when, under Michael Foot, the party won just 209 seats. Yet, fourteen years later, they won exactly double that number. The Conservatives plunged to 165 seats in 1997 yet now there is talk of 380+ seats.

More fanciful elements over on are enjoying watching the Brown Government implode and predict with relish the end of Labour.

That won't happen any more than the extinction of the Conservatives was likely after 1997.

On the assumption that the Conservatives win big in 2010 can we begin to determine the opposition response to David Cameron ? "Events, dear boy, events" will help as inevitably the Cameron Government will run into trouble but can we even begin to speculate about what the next non-Tory Government might look like in say 2018-19 ?

It's all guesswork I suppose but some thoughts...

1) The era of low-price energy is over and economies across the world, both hyper-developed and developing, are going to have to adapt. By 2018, oil might be $200 a barrel and even with no increases in duty, petrol could be £2.20 a litre.

2) As baby boomers like me approach retirement, how will Government ensure we can retire ? I'm not sure I want to HAVE to work until I'm 70 or 75 - that doesn't mean I may not want to. I think I've made provision for my retirement but many won't.

3) Immigration won't be the issue it is now - the "lure" of coming to Britain will fade as the economies of central and eastern Europe grow toward those of the west. That's not to say issues of social and cultural cohesion won't exist.

4) I think the most important issue will be the relationships within the United Kingdom. With a (probably) independent Scotland and the possibility of a declining Tory Government ruling the north from the south, it may be that devolution within England will look an attractive option.

5) Who knows what the international situation will be ? One thing that does seem certain is that by 2018 Asia will be more important and influential than it is now. How will Europe (on the wrong side of the world) manage in a world dominated by the Pacific Ocean ?

There's lots more - the environment, developments in technology etc. One thing's for certain - there will be plenty of Sunday afternoons to consider the options...

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