Believe it or no there is still a month to go in this General Election. Many elections were not much longer than the 17 day period required. I fought in 1992 when John Major called a 6 week campaign and even as a candidate it felt too long. Add on top the Fixed Parliament meant that campaigning/ positioning started over 12 months ago and this leaves many of us just wishing to get to Polling day ASAP, so that the real business of deciding from the result who gets to form a coalition! I feel like the movie ‘Click’ where I just want to fast forward to may 7th!
However, despite my desire to fast forward I am also intrigued that with so much campaigning under way and so many ‘announcements’ we still don’t have any manifestos to judge the political platforms of all the Parties. From a policy wonk perspective and over at my Sports Think Tank we are really looking forward to seeing in print what the Parties have finally signed up to saying on sport for example.
Today sees a shift in emphasis from Labour – wheeling out Tony Blair and launching a campaign on GP waiting times with a nostalgic poster from the Tories in 1979 – when they claimed Britain wasn’t working!
The Blair intervention is a risk as Miliband and his team know. It reminds those who deserted Labour post Iraq and post Blair why they dislike Tony so much. For many in the centre it reminds them of a once impressive PM who despite what you think of him now dominated the political landscape for that decade. You have to remind yourself that from the mid 1990’s to about 2006 Labour was effectively comfortably in the lead in the Polls for the entire period apart from a week or so around the Fuel Protests of 2001. History is rewriting those years already but there was a Political gravity being defied by Blair for over a decade.
You have the laugh at the latest leak in the Telegraph – negative comments from weeks ago from cruddas on New Labour. It seems the paper has abandoned all journalistic morality and simply become the extension of CCHQ to a level that is cynical. I detest the views of the paper but it does us no favours for papers to be simple party mouthpieces.
I have also started spotting the over the top puerile press releases coming from all sides HQs starting to sound dafter by the day. As a candidate I used to cringe at the childish behaviour of the HQ press release war. If you claim everything the opposite side are doing shows they are ‘in chaos’ nobody will believe you when they are actually in Chaos. For the sake of this blog I am following all the party spokes people and I can admit to being depressed. What has been an eye opener though is following the debate north of the border where the SNP take vitriol to a new level. I am glad I was never a Scottish Labour MP having to put up with the level of abuse I see on twitter. Not my cup of tea I have to be honest.
But as I start out on another day on holiday largely unaware of the election taking place apart from on social media – I notice the poll of polls has Lab and Tory locked on 33.3% Wow. All this campaigning and we are locked.