Electoral winds are blowing strongly in both Alberta and in Great Britain. The Alberta provincial election occurs on May 5th (also my daughter’s birthday and co-incidentally that of Karl Marx ). Despite protestations to the contrary by some Alberta conservatives, the NDP which leads in the polls is a moderate centrist social democratic party that owes a lot more to the Fabians ,social gospel and trade union democracy as well as to Keynes than to Marx. Currently the NDP holds a substantial lead in the polls . Among decided voters it scores 38 % to the Conservative government’s 24 % and Wild Rose’s 21 %. Liberals are at 10 %and the Greens at 4 %.The undecided vote is running at 26 %.
If these polls are accurate the NDP will win the election, a shocking outcome for the media and the oil industry. But if it happens as Réné Levesque in Aislin’s famous cartoon in 1976 advised when the PQ won for the first time ” Everybody take a valium”. If the NDP wins, every province from Ontario west to B.C will have elected an NDP government at some point in the last twenty- five years. May 5 th promises plenty of Canadian excitement.
Over in Britain the electoral horse race ends with the May 7th election which is a very close race according to the poll of polls with the Tories at 34 %, the Labour party at 33 %, UKIP at 14 %, the Lib Dems at 8 %, the Greens at 5 % and the Scottish Nationalists poised to sweep almost all of the 59 seats in Scotland. During the News Night special interviews with the party leaders, Nick Clegg leader of the Lib Dems, the Tories’ coalition partner in Government, made the preposterous claim that if it were not for the coalition ‘s budget cuts and austerity, Britain would have gone the way of Greece.
An absurd statement since the critical problem which Greece faces is the absence of its own central bank which in a crisis can buy government debt and use quantitative easing to keep the banking system out of trouble. The Bank of England exists. It used QE successfully and despite some bad private banking excess risk taking there is simply no comparison between the Greek situation where Greece lacks its own independent central bank instead being subject to the austerity obsessed ECB and that of Britain. Clegg should be called to account for such a misleading hysterical claim.
So it promises to be an exciting few days. May the electoral winds blow clearly and well !