With only days to go before Tony Blair steps down as our leader after 10 years, the debate over democracy is likely to hot up. Watching Hazel Blears bumble her way through five minutes of complete illogical nonsense whilst being grilled be the ever rude and slightly (unintentionally) amusing Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight last night made me begin to think about the issue slightly more than I had previosuly. There were two clear issues raised in this interview that summed up new Labour (and probably the Tories as well). Firstly, he brought up the issue of the Labour party calling for an immediate election when John Major came to power. I take the view that we vote for a party, not a PM at election times and so there is no real mileage in this argument. After all, as Blears argued, the Labour party were voted in on a manifesto that they would deliver over 5 years. However, Blears response was, "of course we called for an election in 1990 - that is what opposition parties do." So when the Labour party were calling for a snap election in 1990, they did not actually believe what they were saying was right?
Secondly, as Blears rightly points out, the party was voted in on a manifesto. Back in 2005 the electorate were clearly promised by Tony Blair that he would serve a full term. So the argument that Labour were elected on a manifesto to serve 5 years falls apart there as they have lied about what they promised. You can not pick and choose which parts of the manifesto you deliver if your argument to not call an election is to deliver the manifesto! So they lied in 1990 and they lied in 2005. The case for a snap election grows by the day. I think this argument grows with the clear re-positioning of the PM's role under Blair. It has become more and more presidential and the polls show that a Labour party under Brown would probably be even less popular than a Blair government. I can also only assume that Brown will want to add his mark on the PM position and implement a few of his own policies that were never on the manifesto in 2005 in the first place. The mandate for a Brown government is thinning out. I'm sure he won't call a snap election, but then again this is democracy New Labour style.