I am not and never have been a political animal. British politics has always baffled me a little. For some reason - baffling in itself - I have always found US politics easier to follow and of more interest. The West Wing has a lot to answer for. However, this election pending is proving to be a bit of a corker. A friend of mine, currently reporting for the BBC in Scotland, has tweeted me to say that the political debate across the border is of a 'very high standard.' Coming so soon after the dramatic and heated Scottish Referendum, this should come as no surprise. There is a huge appetite for politics in Scotland - for obvious reasons - that the rest of the UK finds hard to emulate. Labour is fighting to survive beyond Hadrian's Wall and the Tories in Scotland are, as usual, on a hiding to nothing. Did I mention the Lib Dems? No real point. The most likely outcome, I am told, will be a Labour/SNP coalition. This possibility, hotly denied by Ed Milliband and offered as a 'given' by Nicola Sturgeon, is a real game changer. - Update - last nights five-way leader's debate firmly underlined this. - All very exciting, not least because of the massive implications this would bring to government at Westminster. It is clear that we may be on the verge of a new and Borgen-like political landscape that previous generations could not have imagined possible.
However, one thing has remained the same over recent years and it is a problem that has only added to the apathy felt by many British voters - where are the country's statesmen and stateswomen? Our political leaders continue to seem lacklustre and passionless. I don't mean the bluster and stutter of political debate as witnessed on tv. I mean the kind of strong, charismatic and intelligent leadership that makes you sit up and listen.- Ed's new relaxed podium manner is a slight improvement - I'm not talking Thatcher - far from it - but there has to be a better presentation of issues and a more articulate guide to possible answers than is offered by the party bound and image conscious politicians of the present day. Rehearsed and imposed style over content has reigned for too long. The party debates thus far have thrown up only one leader who has shown anything like these qualities. Nicola Sturgeon, admittedly free of the fear of massive losses and with much to gain, has been the only politician so far to make me listen. I, of course, can't vote for her. However, were she the leader of the political party I happen have the most sympathy for and set about promoting its policies with the same passion, I would very likely vote for Sturgeon. I know the SNP sums still don't convincingly add up and many commentators are still to be convinced about the SNP's policies as regards the longer term, but Sturgeon seems statesman-like in a way that other party leaders do not. I wish my party had a Sturgeon. Cometh the moment...cometh the woman.