In the UK, David Cameron is leader of the Conservative party, just emerging from the best Local Government election results and by-election in redent history. The first by-election victory for more than two decades in Crewe and Nantwich reflected a truly massive swing fromt he Government to the tories. Gordon Brown is (just) leader of the Labour Party and Prime Minister. His new policies are mostly ‘I’ll do whatever my backbenchers say, but pretend I’m standing up for firm convictions.’. Brown launches fightback after relaunch after reannouncement. None of them are working.
Boris Johnson is the new Mayor of London. His first major initiative (for the headlines) was a ban on drinking on pubic transport. Most people’s reaction: “We were allowed to drink on public transport?”. A web-arranged last drinking waltz turned into nastiness and violence.
In the United States, GW Bush is President. The race to replace him is now between Barack Obama and John McCain, both Senators. Hillary Clinton finally ended her campaign in the first week in June, and gave a whole new meaning to ‘magnanimity’, by which I mean, she wasn’t. I predict a McCain victory, but that may yet come back to bite me in the ass.
In Northern Ireland, Peter Robinson is First Minister. Martin McGuinness is Deputy First Minister. A ghastly nightmare.
In the un-liberated twenty six counties, Brian Cowen, former Finance Minister, has begun cutting things back. An Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) is the young Mary Coughlan TD, formerly Agriculture Minister. The vast majority of the cabinet well commands the Irish language.
Wales has a Labour/Plaid Cymru Assembly Government, which I hope for the sake of the Welsh disproves the aphorism ‘you get the government you deserve’.
Scotland has a minority Scottish Nationalist Party government, which puts Alex Salmond at the top table with Gordon Brown, hopefully giving the Prime Minister an ulcer, or a revised submission under Barnett, whichever is worse. Wendy Alexander, Labour leader in Scotland, put the fear of God into the PM with an invitation to the Scots Nats to ‘bring on’ an independence referendum. Not in the script.
The EU is just as vapid and nonsensical as ever, proving Nelson was right and that the Germans may be the opposition, but the French are still the enemy. Speaking of which, Germany has Kanzler Angela Merckel (CDU, centre-right) and France has Prèsident Nicolas Sarkozy (PP, centre-right) as their respective head of government and Head of State. Sarkozy isn’t loved anymore, but he’s planning to do something about it. Ireland will vote in June on the Lisbon Treaty, the mother of all amendments. It’s too close to call.