I think it’s a shame that with all the political uncertainty floating around at the moment, politicians still feel the need to make statements which are nothing more than an attempt to inject more FUD into an already murky situation. If you haven’t heard the expression before, FUD is short for “Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt” and is a great descriptive term for the things that are said to make the public (or consumers) worry about the possible negative implications of choosing the competitor over you.
For example, if you wanted to suggest to the electorate that the Lib Dems forming a government with Labour would be a ‘bad thing’ in some way, you could say something like if that happened, it would mean “a second unelected prime minister in a row”. Scary stuff – having a Prime Minister that isn’t elected? An ‘unelected’ Prime Minister wouldn’t be democratic would it, so what would we have voted for? It would be bad wouldn’t it, especially right after an election where we should have elected a proper Prime Minister.
Except it’s not, because, as a country we don’t elect a Prime Minister, ever. As a country, our voting system only allows us to vote for a local candidate. If David Cameron became Prime Minister, he would be just as ‘unelected’ as Gordon Brown, in the sense that the vast majority of voters, Conservative or otherwise, didn’t even have the option of voting for him. In fact the only people who could be considered to have elected him were the people of Witney, and only then to represent them in Parliament, not as Prime Minister.
So why say something like that, as William Hague did yesterday? The only reason is propaganda – to make people think that an alternative is bad in some way. It’s frankly tiresome and dishonourable. At the end of the day it doesn’t help move discussions on, it doesn’t help the electorate figure out what is ‘right’ for them. It’s basically just a dirty trick, and I’m fed up with it. I want our elected representatives to actually behave like adults, and work with each other to do whats best for the whole country, not just the less than 40% who voted one way or another.
FUD has no place in politics, and probably anywhere else in the civilised world. If a politician starts resorting to FUD, you know it’s because they want to draw attention away from their own shortcomings, and make someone else look worse. We should move past that, and focus on the positives. If politicians can’t do that, perhaps next time we vote we should make sure they don’t get elected.