left: Conservative MP Boris Johnson
As the important midterm elections approach in the United States, and the GOP is getting a well-deserved kick in the crotch, the major British political parties have just finished up having their annual conventions. There has been much speculation and debate about who will succeed Tony Blair as leader of the Labour Party. The favorite appears to be the current Chancellor, Gordon Brown. Blair himself has been sadly tarnished over his vigorous and misguided support of the Bush Administration and its war in Iraq, and several weeks ago there was a mass defection from the Labour Party to the Liberal Democrats.
Meanwhile, the Conservatives, out of power for a dozen years (since the forgettable John Major), are licking their chops and "preparing for power." Part of the preparations seems to be an overhaul of their image: they paid a London firm £40,000 to design a new oak tree logo that would make the Tories look younger and greener; they're talking about tackling global warming; and they've refused to make a firm pledge to reduce taxes. The Tories also have in their corner the flamboyant and media-savvy MP Boris Johnson, who is often spoken of as the future of the Conservative Party. The current head of the Conservative Party is, in fact, the young David Cameron, who in some photographs looks uncannily like Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The 39-year old Cameron has been leading the efforts to "modernise" the Conservatives, while driving home the old-fashioned message of "social responsibility."