I’m beginning to wonder if our politics are the ones the people in The Thick Of It watch if they want a laugh at strange and incredible things that sensible politicians like Dan Miller, Peter Mannion or even Nicola Murray would never consider. The whole idea of a politician proposing a law to ban tax rises, for instance, is something so absurd that even the nuttier wings of the Tea Party hasn’t put forward. Even they can see that getting the people who pass laws to pass a law that would act only on them and could be ignored by them merely passing a law to get rid of the original law would be straying far too deeply into the realm of the absurd.
I’ve had a chance to see Russell Brand interviewing Ed Miliband and I’ll be very surprised if it does Miliband any harm and could maybe do him well. Not sure if it will move the polls, but I’m not sure if anything will move the polls as everything seems to be circling around the same points and varying within the margin of error.
But the real comedy of the absurd comes from The Sun which appears to believe Scotland is now so separate from the rest of the UK that no one can see the different cover it has there:
— Mike Bird (@Birdyword) April 29, 2015
One reading of that is that Rupert Murdoch is just backing whichever party will do the most damage to Labour and rewarding those who’ve shown themselves most willing to prostrate themselves before him, but even then there are ways to endorse two different parties that aren’t completely contradictory. Vote SNP in Scotland to give Scotland a voice, while the people of England and Wales are being encouraged to vote Tory to keep that voice from having any influence. The next time the Sun accuses someone else of hypocrisy or inconsistency, we may well have a brand new definition of chutzpah.
For any freelance photographers reading this: a quick trip to Berwick, where both versions of the paper are usually on sale next to each other, might deliver a rewarding image other newspapers might want to buy.
I’ve been having a new type of involvement with the election campaign for the last couple of days (and some more tomorrow) as I’ve been doing some (very low level) assisting with the Qualitative Election Study of Britain which has been running a few focus groups at the University. Yes non-quantitative political research has been carried out at Essex and the sky hasn’t fallen in. (And that joke will have sailed right over the heads of 99% of you reading this) It’s been really interesting to watch and listen to the focus groups, but it’s not my research so I can’t really tell you of anything that was discussed there. However, for those of you interested I would recommend reading some of the publications from previous cycles and keeping an eye out for news as the work carries on.
Back in the numbers game of the lower reaches of the parties list, we find today’s featured party is The Peace Party which is standing four candidates. It’s an interesting party because it’s done something most minor parties never get close to doing: saving a deposit at a by-election. That was in Middlesbrough in 2012, when they got within three votes of the Tories, a handful of votes that could have had an interesting effect on political narrative at the time. Interestingly, Middlesbrough isn’t one of the constituencies they’re standing in this time, which may be connected to their candidate in that by-election being a former Labour councillor who quite Labour to join Peace. It seems likely that Middlesbrough was a one-off for them, but they’ve been around and standing in elections for over a decade now, so their perseverance and dedication to their cause should be admired.
Election Leaflets today brings us the shocking news that a candidate loves living in the constituency she wants to represent. Until someone puts out a leaflet headlined ‘I hate it here’, which likely won’t happen until the Transmetropolitan Party takes off, that’s not really news. Meanwhile, in Cardiff Central, an independent candidate is telling voters they have been hypnotized. Not by him in an attempt to get votes from mesmerising the electorate, but by the political parties and only an independent candidate can break the trance. Unfortunately, he loses all my sympathy by claiming that ‘an independent MP should not be a politician’, which triggers my reflex to defend the meanings of words and point out that by the very act of standing for election you’re a politician. It doesn’t depend on you being in a political party to be in that role.
Eight days to go – this time next week it’ll be all over bar the voting.