Midnight has passed, and we’re on the run in to election day, with more than half of the campaign done. There’s probably someone out there wishing the campaign was longer, but I suspect we’re all glad that the end is starting to come into sight, aren’t we? I’m beginning to understand that one of the appeals of the postal vote is being able to cast your vote early and see it all over and done with, and not feel the need to pay any more attention.
But I’ve done this for twenty days now, and I’m going to see it through to the end, even if the last week becomes a death march.
Saturdays are pretty much the day off for the national campaign in an election. All the big launches and speeches tend to take place in the week, because that’s when people are watching and paying attention to the news, and big stories get held over until later in the day so they can be front pages in the Sunday papers. Meanwhile, volunteers who have to work during the week are flooding into local election HQs, which makes it a good time for the VIPs to visit them rather than touring the TV studios. Others can just use it to get themselves ready for being lobbed a few softballs by Andrew Marr, or perhaps having a slightly more in depth appearance on one of the other shows.
There’ll be polls coming out through the evening too, as the Sundays come out and announce their findings. The amusing thing with some of those will be giving us the up and down from their poll last Sunday, or a few weeks ago, as if all the other polls never happened. The sheer frequency of polling in this election is a new thing, thanks to the advent of internet polling making it a lot easier for companies to deliver multiple polls in a week. Even back when I started blogging, and during the 2005 campaign, polls were comparatively rare (especially outside an election period) and constituency-level polls unheard of. This time, of course, we have lots of polls telling us that not much is happening and if this election has a memorable phrase so far, it’s ‘variations within the margin of error (except for voters in Scotland).’
Looking down the list of parties, the next minor one in line is the Christian People’s Alliance, but I talked about them all the way back on Day 2 on discovering they had a candidate in Colchester. So, next we find that most venerable and persistent of the fringe parties, losing deposits all over the country for decades: the Official Monster Raving Loony Party. They’re also firmly in the tradition of British humour and eccentrics, gleefully flogging the same old joke again and again regardless of how few people laugh along with.
There’s not much point in probing the depths of their policy positions – though they have apparently released a manifesto that talks about unicorns – but one thing about their strategy this year is of interest. In previous years, the sight of a Loony at the declaration of the Prime Minister’s result was a fixture of election night, but this year then isn’t a Loony standing in Witney. There is one Nick The Flying Brick contesting Doncaster North with Ed Miliband, but the party’s leader – Howling Lord Hope – has chosen to stand in Boris Johnson’s constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip, perhaps to have a contest for ‘silliest looking person on the stage’ with him.
No weird candidates on Election Leaflets today, but we do have an odd candidate picture. The picture on this leaflet for JP Floru, the Conservative candidate standing against Simon Hughes in Bermondsey and Old Southwark, doesn’t seem to have the same professional pose and poise one might see on other Tory election leaflets, but instead has an air of a candidate being told he needed to submit a photo within five minutes, regardless of where he was. This may well be the first election leaflet to be adorned with a selfie, but what I really want to know is who is the woman with her back to the camera, and does she know she’s being seen by thousands of voters in South London?