After lamenting the lack of public engagement in the campaign yesterday, I should start this post with some praise for our local Greens who have held a public meeting for people to meet and question their candidates. If you want to know what happened there…you’ll have to check out the Colchester Chronicle who’ve been live-tweeting from it. They’ve called it ‘Grill The Greens’, and the pedant in me would like to point out that one needs to steam your greens to get the best taste and nutrition from them.

Here’s a thought: given that we’ve known the date of this election and the start of the campaign for several years, why have none of the major party manifestos been launched yet? We’ve had campaigning and press events since launch, we had the official start of the ‘short campaign’ last Monday, I’ve been writing these blog posts for 13 days so far, and yet still no one has come out with the official list of the policies they want to implement in Government. We’re told they’ll likely come out next week – though I expect someone at Tory HQ is frantically rewriting it to include the new pledges they’ve come up with over the last couple of days – but there’s no reason they couldn’t have been launched back when the campaign started. (That way, of course, we’d also know which of this week’s policies were always planned, and which were scribbled on the back of an envelope)

Polling is now discovering important information about voters in Britain, with the revelation that people called Tim are more likely to vote Lib Dem than anyone else. Many in the Lib Dems may question the validity of the research when they note that Lynne is the third least Liberal Democrat-supporting name. I can think of at least two who’d disagree. But at least we know that ‘come on Tim’ is a proper Lib Dem rallying cry.

Today’s news from Election Leaflets is that the SDP is still with us, and standing a candidate in Kent. Unfortunately, not against Farage in Thanet South, but over in Gillingham and Rainham (though while his leaflets say SDP, the official statement of persons nominated has him with no description). There have been some lingering continuing SDP candidates since David Owen’s original continuing SDP was wound up in 1990 with one of their last councillors dying last year.

However, I would question if this candidate is actually part of the official SDP or a chancer borrowing the name, especially given the lack of a party description on the official list (you can only use a party name as a description if your nomination is supported by that party’s Designated Nominating Officer). It’s true that micro parties can go through some odd changes in ideology (the continuity Liberals stood as part of the hard left No2EU slate for the 2009 European elections) but here the SDP name appears to have been appropriated by a right-wing political gadfly and previous English Democrats candidate who uses this leaflet to complain about various other parties he’s been involved in and rant about immigration.

Whether he is official SDP or not is hard to tell as the only website for the party I can find is a bizarre string of rants and conspiracy theories that doesn’t seem to have much relationship to anyone standing for election. However, this is the rather odd world of fringe and micro parties in British politics where many odd people tend to gather and then fall out each with each other. (Major party politics is where odd people gather, grit their teeth, and pretend to get on with each other)

We’re a third of the way through the election campaign – 13 days gone, 26 to go until election day. However, voting will be starting much sooner than that as the postal ballots will start going out within the next week and at least one reporter is taking up a suggestion I made last time and trying to find the first voter in the country: