I just looked back at 2010, and discovered my post for day 30 then was called ‘all over bar the voting‘, because that was the last day of the campaign, with just polling day to come. Is there anyone happy we still have over a week to go this time? Campaign duration’s something else we likely need to add to the list of things to review in the operation of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act.
Today’s excuse for the commentariat getting their knickers in a twist was the news that Ed Miliband had been photographed leaving Russell Brand’s house last night. Cue much mirth and then faux-outrage at the idea that he might have been having a conversation with him. All of the pointless bloviators were at it:
"I haven't got time to hang out with Russell Brand." pic.twitter.com/HGZ1zgp56J
— Matt. (@mattjohnholmes) April 28, 2015
Even when it turned out that he was there to do an interview with Brand for his YouTube channel, people still appeared to think this was in some way a mistake by Miliband, which seems to be a point being made solely for partisan benefit, not because it makes any sense. We hear politicians regularly tell us how important it is to vote, and the commentariat love nothing more than telling politicians how they should be engaging with the non-voters (especially the young) to hear their concerns and address them. Well, when the nation’s most public and prominent non-voter asks you to come and do an interview on his million-subscriber YouTube channel which he’ll talk about to his ten million Twitter followers, why not engage? And to see some of my fellow Lib Dems mock Miliband when just a few days ago they were praising Nick Clegg for going on The Last Leg (which began as an engagement with Alex Brooker about his not voting) really isn’t a pretty sight.
This goes to the same issue as the Green Party video from a couple of weeks ago – the political class and the commentariat might mock something, but it doesn’t mean it’s wrong, it’s just something different and an attempt to reach out to the sort of people their finely wrought columns, Sunday morning chats and carefully thought out blog posts will never reach. I don’t like Brand, as I think he misses out the whole ‘actually being funny’ part of comedy and he appears to have some rather odd and sexist attitudes that many ignore, but I don’t think that puts him somehow beyond the pale where no one should engage with him. Yes, he’s a preening self-obsessed fool who loves using ten big words where one small one would do and is nowhere near as clever as he thinks he is, but so are most politicians, commentators and political editors. I suspect Miliband might get a better conversation from him that he did from Boris Johnson the other day.
As we’re talking about non-voters, it seems apt that today’s minor party from the great big list of parties is the Above and Beyond Party, who are standing in five constituencies across England and Wales. They have one main aim at this election – a ‘none of the above’ option being added to the ballot paper at all future UK elections. Once that’s achieved, they’ll then go on to their main aim, which is to become ‘a movement for radical change, refocusing its energies on encouraging the electorate to vote none of the above in all subsequent general elections until the political establishment properly addresses the need for a new system of governance.’ Like yesterday’s Hoi Polloi, they think the current system is generally corrupt and needs to be replaced with something entirely different. Indeed, amongst all the various minor parties and independents on the ballot, there are plenty who want to change the system entirely (and not just through the various forms of Marxist revolution) and I do wonder if they should be looking to work together more to amplify their voices rather than all losing their deposits. (Though for what it’s worth, I would like to see a none of the above option in our elections)
And finally, today’s dive into the pile of Election Leaflets brings us one of those independent candidates wanting to change the system, but doing it in the sort of clothes you’d expect someone wanting to represent Shoreditch (and Hackney South) would wear. This is Russell Shaw Higgs, who does give off something of the air of an aging Nathan Barley in his pictures, but gains points for being the first candidate I’ve seen talk about sortition in an election leaflet.