There is another week of this election to go. I am not sure how that makes you feel but I did get the impression from the Tory announcement today that they don’t trust themselves enough to keep a promise on tax so they would legislate not to increase tax (well VAT & Income tax for example). This is clearly a gimmick to have something to say for today. It wasn’t in the manifesto so we can only assume it’s one of those pointless policies that don’t mean much but send a ‘signal’. I can see why people are bored of this election. Despite the amount of detail allegedly given by the Tories about the ‘books for the next 5 years’ which allows them to make such an empty promise we know they have already got about £35-30bn of expenditure we don’t know where it will come from. Add to this the fact that GDP for last quarter fell to 0.3% growth and you can see why predicting 5 years growth to pay down the deficit and find the £30bn is really taking the electorate for fools.
Back to next week. As you know I have been keen to fast forward to the election result ever since I cast my postal vote. I am not sure I can take another week. It has been far too long. They are running out of photo Opps and repeated speeches. And from what I hear in all my conversations none of it is really helping make up peoples’ minds. Most people on my table at a dinner last night were ‘undecided’ despite all voting in 2010. They were shifting their thinking all over the place amongst the parties.
I am probably very sad but I did get the adrenalin running at the thought of sitting up through election night when the exit polls start coming in.
Usually about 12.30 was time for me to head to the ‘Count’ and look supremely confident, encourage my supporters and make the opposition worry. This time I will be sitting with my laptop and twitter enjoying every moment and messaging friends who have won or lost.
I will be watching the seats that will most likely change hands and what these mean for the final result. As we know only about 100 seats normally matter in a General Election and only a few thousand votes in each of these seats needs to change hands to change a government. I am a supporter of PR as I believe people should have their vote count wherever they live in the country. Being Labour in the South of much of England is pointless but those hundreds of thousands of votes should count for something.
The reason I got excited by the polls again today was twofold. First the Ashcroft poll suggesting (its a snapshot no a result) that nick Clegg and Farage may not win their seats. On top of this was a Scottish poll suggesting the SNP might win every one of the 55 seats north of the border. Extraordinary if that is true. But it would also deny the Lib Dems of Danny Alexander. Strip out Jeremy Brown who is already going and perhaps David Laws and the Orange Book (ie Tories) grouping is no longer the force to do the post election deals. With 55 SNP and a slightly lefter leaning Lib Dems and the maths starts to look difficult for Cameron. I think political commentators have been too quick to put the Lib Dems in the Tory column for reaching the magic 323 seats target. There is still lots to play for.
On a final note this evening as I blog – whilst trying to watch Leicester City defy the odds and beat Chelsea out of the corner of my eye – I have been keen to see how the media have covered this election. I think it has been a really low point for people who regard themselves as serious journalists in papers like the Telegrapgh. Yes we know they support the Tories and will say so but journalistic standards have just gone out of the window. But more objectively it is great that Loughborough University General Election Media analysis helps show just how biased the coverage has been and what Labour have had to contend with (negative attacks in the amount of coverage they get)
The latest over the top coverage that annoyed me today was the storeis around Ed Miliband daring to to an interview with somebody young people identify with – Russell Brand. Don’t people get that politics is no longer done through Radio 4 Today programme? I think this was brave and sensible way to try and engage. Thumbs up and it is stupid of the other media to attack him. But of course you can see why! social media makes it possible to by-pass the old media. Great!