A Labour Prime Minister who has led his party for more than 10 years stands down in mid-Parliament. His successor, a former Chancellor who was seen as a long-term rival, is initially viewed as a safe pair of hands but a series of largely self-inflicted political disasters serve to destroy his reputation.
Economically, there is recession in the air and inflationary pressures are building up, thanks in part to a recent significant rise in oil prices. The government wishes to impose three-year pay deals on public sector workers to help deal with inflation and public spending generally is tight.
At the same time, the Conservative leader wants to take the party in a whole new direction and seems to be striking a chord with the public, although there are some murmurings within the party about the leadership. Meanwhile, following recent scandals, the Libs have just had a leadership election, between an up and coming Young Turk and a more established older rival, which the younger candidate wins.
In America, it's presidential election year and a virtual unknown stuns the party establishment by coming from nowhere to secure the Democratic nomination, offering hope to the country after years of discredited Republican rule. One of the main reasons for this disillusion with the Republicans is the effects of a war in Asia, combined with an autocratic and arrogant governing style which many feel has resulted in unconstitutional acts. The incumbent Republican president is also widely seen as an idiot.
Yup, it's 1976 all over again.
The Second Referendum, or, Obliquity
4 months ago