Election Night

My favorite day of the year is Election Day.  Going to vote makes
me completely emotional, every time, even for those municipal primaries
that draw 4% of the vote.  Today I lucked into being in Britain on
their Election Day, which has not made me emotional. 

There’s a ho-hum atmosphere among those I’ve talked to, and even in the
out-for-blood press.  It’s seemed plain to everyone that Labour
would again win a majority, but without any real excitement around such
a victory, around a third term for the Blair government.  I was a
graduate student here in 1996-1997, when Blair first become PM, swept
into office on a wave of exurberance.  That exuberance seems long
gone.  The local TV stations are suggesting that Blair will win
with a smaller majority, of about 66 members.  (A lib-dem, named
Campbell, has just won big in the Kingdom of Fife Northeast, for what
he says is his fifth term.  David Blunkett,
former Labour
minister, recently embroiled in scandal, has just been returned to
office by the people of Sheffield, Brightside.)  It does not feel
like a big victory; the Labour guys sound chastened, like they’ve lost,
not like they’re winning by a reasonable majority.

I’m here for a joint event with the Oxford Internet Institute on
Internet Governance.  We had a public event tonight in a lovely
lecture room in Said Business School.  The event, somewhat like
the British election, did not bring any surprises but was intriguing
all the same.  Nitin Desai, the chairman of the UN’s Working Group
on Internet Governance, stated the three things most important to the
WGIG: 1) Internationalization, 2) Accountability to Internet users, and
3) Ownership (in the sense of broad participation in the
decision-making process).  Perhaps I am being naive, but these
goals seem hard to quibble with.  The fault lines in the IG
debate, though, went unexposed in tonight’s public event.

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