Some more election activity from me, as I helped out a friend by delivering a couple of hundred leaflets for her – it was a sunny day, and I needed the exercise. So, it’s another day when I’ve not been keeping up with the minutiae of the campaign itself, but I’m not sure I’m missing much. In 2010, David Cameron complained that the debates were sucking the life out of the campaign, but this year it feels like the campaign itself is doing that, and reducing itself to nothing before our eyes. There’s a real campaign going on, with leaflets being stuffed through doors that are then perhaps knocked on by the ever-decreasing armies of canvassers, but that seems entirely separate from the bizarrely sterile series of photo opportunities and stage managed appearances that the media are covering. Perhaps the biggest possible shock any of the leaders could deliver now would be to state that they’d not be doing all that any more, and would instead be spending eight hours a day either door-knocking or phoning voters. That’d be something different, for once.
So I don’t really have much to say on today’s spat over Libya, except to note that David Cameron appears to think Ed Miliband’s comments were ‘ill-judged’. This, of course, comes from a man who approved Michael Fallon’s attempt to depict Miliband as someone who would stab his country in the back, and didn’t think that was ‘ill-judged’.
If you’re looking for some analysis right now, I recommend this post on May 2015 which explains the many paths Ed Miliband could take to get him to 323 seats. However, it follows others in automatically assuming the Liberal Democrats are part of the Tory block of MPs, which I’ve said before I don’t regard as too reliable an assumption, especially assuming the party would go along with a deal that involves support from the DUP and UKIP. Of course, that just makes things even easier for Miliband to get to Number 10, and the thought has occurred to me that if Douglas Alexander is drowned beneath the SNP tide, Clegg would probably be a useful candidate for Foreign Secretary in a Miliband cabinet.
On the list of parties standing in the election, we’re down into those with single figure numbers of candidates now, and it’s interesting to note that two forces once perceived as a big threat – the British National Party and Arthur Scargill, now leader of the Socialist Labour Party – are both standing eight candidates. There’ll be no sighting of Scargill on election night, though, as he’s not standing anywhere. Just behind them with seven candidates is the Workers’ Revolutionary Party, once the electoral home of choice for various members of the Redgrave family in their quest for revolution and socialism, now just another splinterous faction amongst the many on the left.
Today’s discovery on Election Leaflets is a fascinating one – Elliot Ball, candidate for the 30-50 Coalition in Bethnal Green and Bow (and their only candidate, it seems). I’ve been excluded from the audience for a political leaflet before, but never in such an odd way – the 30-50 in their name refers to linking the idealism of the under 30s with the experience of the over 50s, so those of us between those ages are neither idealistic or experienced enough to count, it seems. It seemed the usual sort of oddity you find at election times until I noticed the name ‘Richard Franklin’ listed as the chairman and founder of 30-50. Could it be? Yes, it is.
Richard Franklin, for those of you who don’t know was a regular on Doctor Who in the early 70s, playing UNIT’s Captain Mike Yates. His acting career didn’t reach such heights again, but he has been somewhat of a political gadfly in his later life. He’s been a candidate for the Liberal Democrats in 1992, the Referendum Party in 1997, UKIP in 2001, and then his own ‘Silent Majority Party’ in 2005, the number of votes he received getting fewer each time. Having had dwindling success as a candidate, he’s obviously decided to take a more behind the scenes role and use his experience to mentor the idealism of younger candidates. The question is whether 30-50 can beat the 78 votes Franklin got last time he stood and start a new upward trajectory, or are they doomed to continue to drop? Up against ten other candidates, it may be hard to stand out of the crowd.