Election-related news that caught my eye

From the Guardian: Hunt lobby in covert bid to oust Labour MPs. Is this a bit of American-style politics here to stay? Will “527“-like groups be plaguing our screens/airwaves/papers? I noticed a full-page ad by the GMB in the Independent last week. Under a photograph of a serious-looking Michael Howard was the following text:

ACCUSING NHS STAFF IS A SHAMEFUL WAY TO CAMPAIGN FOR BETTER HYGIENE IN THE NHS.

Mr. Howard, why do you keep posing for photo calls with hospital staff, before blaming them for dirty wards when their backs are turned? They’ve had enough of it. Condemning hard working people who make every effort to maintain the highest hygiene standards in the NHS is a dirty trick. Tory privatisation of hospital cleaning is really to blame. A further £35 billion of public service cuts will lead to privatised, undervalued and underpaid staff.

It won’t clean up our hospitals. Directly employed cleaning staff will.

International coverage of the election:

An article in the NY Times (Maybe the British Do Democracy Better) by Adam Nagourney on the much lower spending on election campaigns in the UK, and contrasts that to what I think is excessive waste of money in US campaigns. It’s a fairly balanced piece that highlights what I like best about elections here: short and sharp. I had to laugh on the multimedia segment about the failure of the Tories to gain ground, which ends with an observation that Michael Howard failed to mention God and religion once while speaking at a church. Perhaps he is merely trying to highlight the separation of church and state here, or he is unaware that Mr Howard is not of the Christian faith. Also in the NY Times, their assessment that a victory for Labour at the polls won’t be enough for Blair, and speaks of that Question Time where “one member of the audience accused the prime minister outright of having lied to the people in explaining why Britain went to war”. Is this kinda direct questioning of politicians’ integrity really all that novel to the US press, or are the reporters at NY Times a little naïve?

And the LA Times reports on how local rivalries dominate the elections in NI. This is something that is touched on very little in the Scottish press, national/Scottish TV coverage, nor the broadsheets. Plus, over here on the ‘mainland’ the NI issue has hardly spoken of since the last Sinn Fein hoo-hah. How has it dropped from the agenda to be replaced by immigration/asylum, which are subjects that probably affect much fewer than unrest in NI.

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