You wouldn’t think that there was a UK General Election in less than two months. Nobody much seems to be doing any campaigning. There have been no leaflets, round here at least. But I don’t seem to be the only one who has noticed the lack of activity.
Fifty days out from the election, Westminster is a strange mix of speculation, tedium and delusion. No one really has any idea who is going to win on May 7th. As frustrating as that is for pundits, it’s not really a problem. More concerning is the lack of activity in the political operations of each party.
There has been a dearth of real election-related news over the last few weeks, other than the meaningless navel-gazing on television debates.
He goes on:
David Cameron and the Conservative Party are unlikely to remain in government. That is the verdict of bookmakers, anyway. Yet if you talk to anyone involved in the election campaign for the Tories, you will hear nothing but absolute conviction that they will stay in office. The absurdity of them losing to Ed Miliband is too preposterous even to countenance, too calamitous to bear thinking about.
Miliband, meanwhile, is the most likely to be Prime Minister, according to the bookies. But so far there has been no sign from the Labour leader that he is a man who is ready to rule the country. The favourite should exude confidence at this stage, his self-assuredness and utter faith that he is soon to seize power should be infectious among voters. Instead, it is the same gratuitously self-deprecating, anti-Prime Ministerial Miliband of old who we see on our screens.
What of the other parties? There is a very real possibility that Nigel Farage will lose South Thanet. It just sort of feels like he will win, because UKIP has done so well this parliament and because he is a party leader standing against a Tory candidate with no incumbency factor.
In reality, he faces a huge fight. Until the recent numbers putting Farage well ahead, all the constituency polling in the seat had him behind. As Farage himself has confessed, defeat here means the end of his political career. It means the end of UKIP as we know them. And yet Farage and UKIP show little awareness of their quite plausibly impending doom.
I don’t know what the situation in South Thanet is. I’m sure Farage is campaigning hard, even if nobody much else is doing much. But it seems he’s been contemplating the possibility of losing:
NIGEL Farage has vowed to quit as Ukip leader if he fails to become an MP at the general election, saying it would be “curtains for me”.
The eurosceptic leader admitted it would be “just not credible” for him to stay at the top of the party if he failed to win the South Thanet seat in May.
Farage – who will fight comedian Al Murray in the battle for the Kent seat – is on course for victory according to research.
But the MEP will need to beat a Conservative majority of nearly 17%.
In an extract from his new book The Purple Revolution, printed in the Daily Telegraph, he said: “The consequences of me failing to secure a seat for myself in the Commons would be significant for both myself and the party.
“It is frankly just not credible for me to continue to lead the party without a Westminster seat.
I can see what he means. But I hope that he wins, not just for the sake of UKIP, but also because I think he’d be an asset for parliament and parliamentary democracy, regardless of what party he belonged to. Particularly when he says things like this:
EXCLUSIVE: Farage will ‘save British pubs’ by axing the smoking ban
ALE-swilling Ukip chief Nigel Farage has vowed to save the great British pub if he gets into power.
He said he would slash beer tax and bring back smoking rooms should his party enter government as part of a coalition in May’s General Election.
He said he was stunned by the state of the industry, which sees almost two boozers close every day, according to the British Beer and Pub Association.
Mr Farage said: “Beer taxes are up, over 40% in the last five years, so there’s a real problem.
“Now there’s an election coming George Osborne will no doubt cut beer taxes in the Budget.
“Secondly, the smoking ban has meant that a lot of pubs struggle day in day out so I’d say look, make the back room a smoking room to keep the punters coming in.
“It doesn’t affect the non-smokers and it would help the pubs enormously.”
I just wish that he – and UKIP – would shout this from the rooftops. Because it’s a campaign pledge that rather seems to have been overtaken by Europe and immigration. How many people know that UKIP would amend the smoking ban?
I’m a bit surprised that the antis aren’t out hissing and screeching about how Nigel Farage “sets a bad example” or “sends the wrong message” and “is killing our children”.
But perhaps they daren’t highlight this aspect of UKIP’s policies, lest too many people find in it a reason to vote UKIP?
And I must add my condolences (H/T smokingscot) at the death of Captain Ranty. I first came across him when he was writing regularly for F2C some 6 or 7 years ago, and greatly admired his punchy style of writing. And I think that when he started his own blog, it gave me something of an incentive to start my own – which I did, quite by accident, a few months later.