It’s been yet another day of potential coalition deal and red line statements, which is a refereshing change from the restating of the same policies in several different ways. Now we just get the same information about coalition deals being expressed in many different ways, of which the most pertinent information is that Ed Miliband doesn’t want to work with the SNP, David Cameron still won’t rule out any deal with UKIP and Nick Clegg will be happy to work with either of them, but he’d prefer an exclusive relationship. All of this does make me wonder if there’s a huge tempting of fate going on, and what we’re going to get is the polling situation unravelling over the next week so someone gets the barest of majorities. At that point, we all get to spend a few years discovering just how much any large political party is a coalition. Just imagine the fun of watching David Cameron held to ransom by the Better Off Out wing, or any attempt at radicalism from Miliband being stymied by the Blairite rump.
Anyway, Alex Harrowell has a good post on why the number of undecided voters polling is finding in Scotland explains Miliband’s current antipathy to the SNP.
We’re seeing more and more newspaper and other endorsements as polling day gets closer, but I think we’re going to look in vain for anyone endorsing the Liberal Democrats. That hasn’t spotted some people squinting and claiming that a ‘if our preferred party can’t win, maybe consider backing them’ is a proper endorsement because slim pickings are better than nothing, right? Jennie Rigg explains here why those sort of endorsements really aren’t good news, and at the time of writing still hasn’t had one of the pod person disciples of bland centrism come along to tell her how wonderful life is in the middle.
Away from the middle, let’s go to the North East instead for today’s minor party looking to make a breakthrough, and it’s another one of England’s regional parties, the aptly named North East Party. They’re standing four candidates (all in the North East, obviously) on a programme of bringing in a proper North East Government on a par with the other devolved governments of the UK. They do appear to have a positive manifesto – talking up what they want for their own region, instead of complaining about what others have – and also proposing to fund the regeneration of the North East through introducing a land value tax, which automatically pricks up my old Liberal ears.
Parties like the North East Party and Yorkshire First (who I looked at a couple of weeks ago) are an interesting development in the development of English politics after the Scottish referendum, and indicate the problems that could come in trying to find a one size fits all devolutionsolution that covers all of England without any regionalism. Of course, this could all falter at the ballot box, but their candidates are mostly in seats where people can cast a vote for them without too much worry as the results a foregone conclusion.
Finally, here’s a little bit of oddness found on Election Leaflets: a leaflet clearly targeted at Labour voters in Wallasey (Angela Eagle’s constituency) and seeming to encourage them to vote for UKIP, but actually from the Conservatives. It’s a deeply weird leaflet, criticising Labour from the traditional left – Danczuk’s ‘metropolitan elite’ claims and Ed Miliband is pro-auterity, for instance – and an odd comparison of the parties at the end of it. Apart from the imprint and a small ‘Conservatives’ on the front, you’d have no idea who it came from with the aim seeming to be pure negative campaign, suppressing the Labour vote in an effort to benefit from the wrecking tactic. It’s the sort of thing that would previously have been a local curio, but now we all get to see it – and point Tories to it when they complain about other people being negative.
145 hours and thirty minutes till the polls close and the real fun begins…