Describing the general election as a “black hole”, Brendan O’Neill has it about right:
There’s nothing normal about this election. It’s time someone pointed out the strangeness of it, the spirit-crushing smallness of it. In essence, the sort of stuff that used to be the concern of local elections — red-tape issues, careers guidance for teens, providing certain services to rural communities — has somehow become the meat of the general election, that once-every-five-years affair at which we once got to choose between traditionalism or semi-socialism; between those who thought power should rest with the upper or capitalist classes and those who thought it should be somewhere nearer the people; between people and institutions that had different visions for how the economy — the very engine of the nation — should be organised; who had different ideas, different values.
And now? David Cameron excitably promises to provide superfast broadband to rural communities. Okay. Get on with it. That’s not a political issue, far less a General Election one — it’s a practical task. Ed Miliband actually made headlines with his promise that Labour will provide ‘face-to-face careers guidance for all 16-year-olds’. What? Various politicos are trying to cajole us into voting by reminding us that Nelson Mandela spent 20 miserable years on Robben Island for the right to vote. Yes, but he did so to secure the right of black people to determine their destinies, to take control of their lives, not so that they could say Yay or Nay to giving spotty youths a 20-minute chat about whether they should go into nursing or retail.
The suffocating smallness of the election is summed up in the parties’ attitudes to economic matters. Labour’s slogan is ‘Balancing the books’. Seriously. It promises there will be ‘no extra borrowing’ under a Labour government. So there will still be borrowing, just not extra borrowing! And that’s it. This from a party whose 1918 manifesto called for the ‘immediate nationalisation’ of the railways, mines and electrical power, the ‘democratic control of industry’, and ‘employment for all’. From calling for ‘the common ownership of the means of production’ to promising to ‘balance the books’ in less than a century. For its part, the Tories, once the party of business and the free market, promise to create a surplus by 2018 so that Britain can ‘start to pay down its debts’.
What we have here, on that most immediate of political issues: the economy, is not a choice between clashing visions of power, of control, of growth and development, but rather between two slightly different bank managers….
I think the idea is to keep the campaign low key, with nothing happening, so voters will switch off. But Nigel Farage and UKIP seem to be gaining traction:
Latest polling data has shown that UKIP leader Nigel Farage is nine points ahead in the constituency of Thanet South with less than two weeks to go until polling day.
The numbers put Farage on 39 per cent, nine points clear of his nearest rival, Conservative Craig Mackinlay and way ahead of Labour’s Will Scobie who is on 26 per cent.
Speaking to Breitbart London Farage said he was “excited and confident, but certainly not complacent” and will keep working hard in the constituency.
And even thought the South East was where the Liberal Democrats retained their only MEP last May, their candidate in this constituency is looking at losing his deposit.
The voting intention of constituents was collected by Survation on Wednesday 22nd April and is the latest available.
“In the last 72 hours we’ve become very excited about how we are doing in some of our target seats. We’re nicking a bit of vote from everybody. We’ve clearly hurt Labour more than we’ve hurt anybody else,” he told the Telegraph.
“And this whole narrative here – Ukip’s fading away, it’s not doing any good, it ain’t going to take any seats; actually we take the very opposite view.
“The thing that really strikes me about these figures is the number of non-voters, the people who did not engage in 2010, who have said they are going to vote Ukip. I think that is really exciting.”
And that despite the hatchet job by Evan Davis (Ssee James Delingpole: 10 reasons why Evan Davis’s BBC interview with Nigel Farage was the worst thing ever):