What You Can Get Away With » weather

I should remember to never talk about the weather. Yesterday doesn’t appear to have been a blip in the generally sunny election we’ve been having, and the rain has returned. Typical Bank Holiday weather, of course, including a brief hailstorm, but really scuppers the best laid plans of deliverers and canvassers.

That didn’t stop electioneering from going on between the showers. David Cameron appears to be launching a special Conservative effort to target the insomniac voter, by promising that the Conservatives will campaign ‘through the night’ on Tuesday. I suspect someone’s borrowed an idea from American politics, where there’s much talk of candidates doing 36-hour last-ditch campaign swings, but it makes sense in a country with multiple time zones and many opportunities to sleep on flights between events. It doesn’t really mean much if you’re wandering round Smithfield at 3am trying to get a photograph with someone who’s not covered in too much blood.

Meanwhile, Gordon Brown was in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft today with Duncan Bannatyne. Bannatyne is currently hosting a series called Seaside Rescue. Ever get the feeling that their hearts just aren’t in it at Labour HQ, or are they attempting to make lives easier for newspaper headline and caption writers?

Here’s a list of celebrity Lib Dem supporters. Rumours that Armando Ianucci’s there because a) we’re the only party not to have asked him to direct an election broadcast and b) a strong third party and a balanced Parliament creates some interesting plots for The Thick Of It would likely be strongly denied by the party’s press officers.

Today’s linkage gives you the opportunity to see Mark Reckons using the word ‘bunkum’, which just doesn’t get used enough in political discourse, Liberal England bringing us Betty Boothroyd’s views on electoral reform, and Chris Brooke discussing post-election possibilities for the Liberal Democrats.

Elsewhere, Splintered Sunrise collects several Northern Ireland election broadcasts into a single post, showing that one result of the peace process is that Sinn Fein can now make videos that are just as banal as any other political party. However, my personal favourite in that collection is the SDLP’s, which features a number of scenes that look like attempts to enter a competition for the world’s worst Reservoir Dogs-esque walk.

Things I didn’t expect to be posting links to in this election campaign: Lib Dem flashmobs in Trafalgar Square.

They Work For You have created a very good site to help you decide who you should vote for. Linking with the work done by Democracy Club, you get to answer questions on local and national issues and see how they match up to your local candidates, not just national party lists. Perhaps unsurprisingly, my results gave me Bob Russell (Lib Dem) first, Peter Lynn (Green) second and Garryck Noble of the People’s Party Essex third, with BNP and UKIP tied for fourth. And no, I haven’t discovered some latent swivel-eyed loon tendency – that’s far behind in last place because our Labour, Tory, English Democrat and independent candidates haven’t responded to any of the questions.

As for my campaigning, I’ve done about 350 deliveries today, which takes the total up to about 3,350, I believe. Whole lot more to come over the next few days, but none of it is in my house at the moment.

And finally, some music, with Right Said Fred’s ‘Lib Dem anthem’. While it does have a singalong chorus, I can’t see it being requested that much at the next Conference Glee Club:

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It couldn’t last, of course. All bubbles burst, all things that have been feeling so good for such a long period have to eventually drop back down to the norm, and perhaps even below the norm in order to appease the law of averages that govern this sort of thing.

Yes, today was the first day in a while when the weather was horrible and not one that anyone would really want to go out and campaign in. Wet, windy and rather cold, it’s the perfect day for staying in and working on designing and rewriting literature for the last few days of the campaign – as Sara Bedford says: “When it rains, we artwork, so when it stops there is more to deliver”.

One of the benefits of living in one of the driest parts of the UK is that we do lose very few days of election campaigning to poor weather – though a couple of years ago saw the start of campaigning being delayed by snow – and so it doesn’t feel too bad to lose the odd day to poor weather. However, this does prompt a thought for any researchers looking for ideas for projects, how about something looking at the effects of weather on levels of political campaigning and the consequential effects on turnout and results?

Still, the forecast for the week ahead looks like it’ll be OK for campaigning, even if it is going to be a little cold. Sunny weather forecast for Thursday, though I’m a bit concerned at the prediction of the temperature dropping to 2 degrees on Wednesday night. Delivering those eve of poll and early morning leaflets isn’t too easy in gloves.

Seems to have been an oddly quiet day nationally in the election campaign too – possibly because other news has been topping the headlines today, and the media being glad for the chance for a quick break from the election to cover foiled bomb plots, oil spills, Greek economic woes and a rather bizarre story featuring the world snooker champion and News of the World journalists posing as the Ukrainian mafia. Against that background, you can see how ‘Clegg, Cameron and Brown make more speeches in different locations’ drops down the running order – even gay demons don’t get that much air time.

Less than 100 hours to go until the campaign’s all over.

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