Doctor Who (Tenth Doctor) plot question (spoilers)

So, in the Bricker household we’re up to David Tennant’s Doctor with Martha Jones.

Just watched the Last of the Time Lords, the last episode of season three (of the revival, obviously).

In that three-episode arc, there’s a lot of “Vote Saxon” foreshadowing that suddenly makes sense.

And I know that must have made sense to a British audience.

But since the PM isn’t directly elected, is it really common to say, “Vote for Joe,” as opposed to “Vote for Joe’s Party?”

Yes. The party leader is the face of the party. You officially vote for your MP, but it’s to put their party, which is represented by its leader, in power.

But do they actually use the formulation, “Vote for ____” where ____ is the name of the candidate for PM? If I Google “Vote for David Cameron poster,” I get stuff like this. (If I Google “Vote for Gordon Brown poster,” I get stuff like this, which I’m assuming came from the opposition. That, or I really don’t understand British politics.) If I Google “Vote Labour poster,” on the other hand, there’s tons of stuff like this.

Amusingly, if I Google “Vote Conservative Poster,” I get the same Gordon Brown ad. Might be a slight image problem there for the Conservatives.

You won’t commonly see “Vote Cameron” posters except in his own constituency where people are voting directly for him as their MP.

Presumably Saxon must have set himself up with a political party but that aspect of things is glossed over - the only time you see any of them is when he gasses them. Simplified for plot reasons, perhaps?

It’s just shorthand for not wanting to identify him with a particular party, as well as suggesting that he’s running an American style campaign of personality. Me, I’d like to see Roger Delgado’s Master running for PM: I AM THE MASTER AND YOU WILL OBEY ME.

Charismatic party leaders (and by no means does this mean all party leaders) will often be the face of the campaign, as shown by the two posters in this Daily Mail article. (Interestingly, I’d expect to see less of Cameron on the posters for next year’s election, because the shine has worn off.*) But voters are still urged to “Vote Labour”, “Vote Conservative” etc. The ballot paper will have the names of the local MP and the party they represent, not “Milliband”, “Cameron” etc. so to avoid confusion you match the slogan to the ballot.

The only “Vote N” campaign I can recall is a negative one: 2007’s “Vote Blair, Get Brown” from the Tories.

Thinking back, there was a sense that “Vote Saxon” was telling you something important, precisely because it was an unusual formulation. It did suggest that there must be something pretty special about Saxon if he, rather than a party, was the one to vote for.
*Or more accurately, it hasn’t.

In fact, this is the scene that triggered my puzzlement. Just before gassing his Cabinet, Saxon/The Master excoriates them for being traitorous cowards – for jumping onto his bandwagon after his popularity became undeniable. So that suggests to me that his cabinet ministers were formerly in another party or parties, and then joined him…but they never so much as name Saxon’s party. It’s always personal with him: Saxon, not [Whatever Saxon’s Party].

It obviously didn’t ring all that false to a British audience, but I was confused.

I’m not British, but I think in each party there are factions, and by the time one is a cabinet minister, you’ve had the opportunity to demonstrate loyalty to one faction or another in a variety of ways - so if you abandon the recognized leader of your faction you might well be considered a traitor (by someone as daft as the Master, anyway), even if you didn’t switch parties.

Not necessarily. The “bandwagon” could have been his popularity within the party as he maneuvered to be elected party leader.

Very much this; leaders can be deposed by their own parties, even mid-term if they’re unpopular enough. All the Prime Minister is the chief minister, not Head of State, and if enough ministers want a change, he - or she - is out. The internal horse-trading and fence-jumping can be eye-watering.

All my “Yes Minister” watching has paid off at last.

It might have been a comedy, but Yes, Minister was very, very accurate about how Westminster actually works.

FWIW, Yes, Minister ran for three series (seasons) and was followed by two series of Yes, Prime Minister.

It’s not uncommon for a faction within a party to depose a sitting leader if they’re polling badly and seen as being weak and vulnerable; that’s when a coup against them will be assembled, if the leaders can assemble the numbers without being seen to do so. It’s even worse for the Opposition, though: Opposition leaders can be like tail-gunners over Berlin until the party settles on one seen as able to take on the sitting government effectively.

Then, of course, when the Opposition becomes the government, there are supporters to reward and enemies to punish. When Saxon turns on his own Ministers as being cowards and turncoats, they would have earlier abandoned another faction within his party to support him as being able to lead them to victory, expecting Ministerial portfolios as their payment. British politics can be utterly brutal.

To be honest, I don’t think people really thought about it too hard. Family shows aren’t usually overly accurate on such things.

Speaking as a Brit, we’re so used to seeing “Vote N” in TV and Films, especially from the US, that it appearing in a show like Dr Who, where all sorts of weird stuff happens that requires a bit of suspension of belief, it just doesn’t strike you as weird. If someone tried it in real life though, that’d be a whole different kettle of fish.

Yeah, I’ve seen them all (and read the books based on the series as well)

Well, this goes to show you how much attention I paid. I thought the “Vote Saxon” referred to the Master’s party (as well as him), that it was a nudge-nudge, wink-wink reference to the BNP intimating that the Master was playing on racial tensions within Britain, and that the only reason the writers didn’t go with “Vote Anglo” is because that would be too eye-rollingly heavy-handed.

Including the revival? (Personally, I didn’t bother with it)

I haven’t seen the revival.

I wondered about that, too. In Alan Moore’s comic, V for Vendetta, which is set in a UK ruled by a fascist, white supremacist dictatorship, there’s a popular proagandistic TV show called “Storm Saxon,” about a square jawed white hero defending Britain from the swarthy hordes. There, the use of the name “Saxon” was clearly meant to imply a racist ideology, but of course, that’s the major theme of the comic book.