In the UK, David Cameron is leader of the Conservative party, and we haven’t got any firm policies to speak of, except the old truism ‘communism is bad, and you oughtn’t do any of it’. Gordon Brown is leader of the Labour Party and Prime Minister. His new policies are mostly ‘I’ll have whatever David Cameron’s having’, and that has landed him in political hot water very recently, with a Queen’s Speech apparently borrowed from the Conservatives. Labour suffered the worst local election results in the modern era, handing control of hundreds of local government seats to Cameron. Labour languish 26% behind the Tories, which would mean a catastrophe at the polls.
Boris Johnson is, as predicted in April, the new Mayor of London. Two years ago, you’d have had to be on crack to predict that one.
In the United States, G.W. Bush continues to offer hope to Jimmy Carter that the Georgian peanut farmer won’t have the worst diplomatic record in US history. The race to succeed Bush is on. Senator John McCain is the Republican ticket holder, and the fight amongst the Democrats is now down to an increasingly futile battle between Barack Obama (Sen, Ill) and Hillary Clinton (Sen, NY). Barack Obama has mathematics heavily on his side, but, failing Hillary finally realising that the game is up, the race looks likely to be decided at a brokered convention, giving McCain plenty of time to rebuild the Republican base.
In Northern Ireland, The Rev. Ian Paisley is, for the moment, still First Minister. Martin McGuinness is Deputy First Minister. It’s a bit like a recurring nightmare that, unfortunately, is about to get much worse. Paisley is retiring, and Peter Robinson is in place (as predicted) to succeed him.
In the un-liberated twenty six counties, the Teflon Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, has ended his Ireland political career, resigning as promised as Uachtarán Fhianna Fáil and An Taoiseach. Brian Cowen, former Finance Minister, took over, giving a small spike to Fianna Fáil poll readings. An Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) is the young Mary Coughlan TD, formerly Agriculture Minister. A ‘bogger’ cabinet is chosen, with the vast majority well commanding 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. The no camp is doing very well, with the Farmers’ Union holding all the cards, awaiting a negotiation outcome.
Africa’s breadbasket is officially empty. Zanu-PF’s President Robert Mugabe (as predicted) lost the Presidential election in Zimbabwe, with the Movement for Democratic Change’s Morgan Tzvangirai essentially claiming victory. Tzvangirai has vowed to return tot he country to fight a run-off.