We’re halfway through the election campaign! Yes, we’ve made it through the twenty-six days since Theresa May stood at her podium outside Downing Street and ended a whole hour of Twitter speculation by announcing this election, and we now just have twenty-five to go until it’s all over. Or, as I write this, there are 602 hours until the polls close, which is just about the right amount of time to go and do something truly productive, like watching all of Doctor Who or Star Trek instead of paying any more attention to whatever the scandal of the day happens to be.
We do have some interesting data on the calibration of the political scandal scale, with the discovery that saying ‘bollocks’ is not as scandalous as tweeting a picture of a flag. Both have been done by Emily Thornberry, but only one turned into a major scandal that caused her to have to resign her position. Given that the country definitely hasn’t got any calmer or more accepting since late 2014, we can no doubt expect that the last Andrew Marr show before the election will sound something like a Derek and Clive sketch. Just don’t mention the flags.
My Eurovision prediction turned out to be right (like all good political science predictions, it having turned out to be correct, I’ll ignore all the caveats I put around it and claim I definitely saw it coming) with a contest happening during a British general election giving us a first victory for a country. In line with 1966 and 2001, the other times a country won for the first time in a general election Eurovision, this clearly heralds a Labour victory on June 8th. Or a government being returned to power in their first election. I shall come back here in a few weeks time to selectively cut and paste the version of that prediction that turned out to be correct.
Coming up in the next week, we’ve got the manifesto launches for almost all the parties which will be interesting to see what policy surprises have been kept from us, and how accurate the leak of Labour’s manifesto was last week. We can also have the fun of seeing what locations the parties pick for launching them in, which is one of those thankless tasks where some keen events organiser spends ages trying to find the perfect venue for the party. They need to find something that fits with the party’s ethos and the message of the manifesto while not being somewhere that bored journalists and commentators can find something worth mocking in, or a place with connections to something that the party wouldn’t like. And once you’ve done that, if you’re really lucky it might be mentioned in a throwaway comment in the papers and you might just be able to tell what the venue is in the TV coverage behind all the party branding. Maybe all the parties should just club together and hire a featureless blank white room for the week that they could all use?
Tome to round up with Election Leaflet Of The Day with our first bilingual leaflet of the campaign from Labour’s Geraint Davies in Swansea West. It’s a constituency I used to live in, and after I left came back to help a friend win a seat for the Liberal Democrats in Mayals ward, so it’s amusing to see two supposed Lib Dems from there urging a tactical vote for the Labour candidate. The seat was a close fight between Labour and the Liberal Democrats in 2010, but Davies got a decent-sized majority in a multi-way split in 2015. If he really needs the tactical votes then it might indicate the level of trouble Labour is in in Wales, with Tories pulling ahead in polls and seats like Swansea West, where they used to weigh the Labour vote, suddenly becoming marginal.
Halfway through – it’s all downhill from here.