Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Since there are no perceived consequences, there is no fear, and the election is dull - so far

Things seem a little dull.

Don't get me wrong I think its all going reasonably well. George Osborne has confounded his critics with a series of master strokes - typical of which was his one line dismissal of the anti-Tory line up of experts the BBC's World at One used to try and talking down the ideas behind the Big Society more with less state manifesto launch. ( All the experts the BBC lined up were against public involvement in decisions about how they were governed. It would have been fine if they had outlined the pro and against arguments - but they just dismissed them. )

But things aren't on fire.

The opinion polls apparently have narrowed again - but I have to say my totally unscientific experience of knocking on peoples doors tells me we are doing well. As a canvasser you look at the canvassing result from the last visit and brace yourself before knocking on the door of a house you think may be hostile - but I have to say all the feedback has been good (better than I expected), and I'm not the only one to be pleasantly surprised by it.

Some in the media have said the internet and new media hasn't really come alive ( apart from the new hobby of poster spoofing and the only main victim of the campaign so far thanks to twitter ). I think that can be explained by the fact that a lot of the activists who blog etc are very busy right now doing the traditional campaign thing, and the media have brought full resources to bear on the campaign - so those who are interested in politics have plenty of MSM output to read and watch. But again it makes thing dull.

Some commentators complain that none of the main parties is fully introducing the voters to the true horror of the country's financial predicament ( thanks for that by the way Gordon ). They're right of course, but anyone who tries it gets killed by the rest of the media. Why is this ? Because the electorate is still in denial about what's happened. The Economist put this nicely with this weeks article "Farewell free stuff" from Bagehot. I tried the same a few weeks ago with "Much of the country have the same problem as Unite's BA cabin crew". But spending all the time pretending there is no financial reckoning coming is dull.

Things are dull because the fear is missing. If people saw what confronts us they wouldn't be considering voting for an outcome that might allow a hung parliament.

If there's any consolation its that the next general election after this one is likely to be governed by fear and will be a lot a higher adrenalin affair.

My guess is that if a Conservative majority isn't returned of greater than 20 seats that next election will be within 12 months. But by then we would have had events to make us fearful. However explaining that is just too dull as no one can remember the chaos of a government without adequate support in the commons.

Maybe the leaders debates will liven things up before its too late.

PS I should acknowledge that Labour has been doing its best with fear with the cancer scaremongering etc- but they've lost so much credibility and have so transparently failed that they are ignored.


Sue said...

I'm afraid things are dull because either we know that our government really doesn't have the power we would like. It has been given away to the EU and is no longer under our control or apathy has set in and all you hear is "politicians, they're all the same".

James Higham said...

I saw a report that it's where the gains are which count and the Tories have gained in 100 marginals.

That might be significant.

Such a pity - all this might have been avoided if we had a Tory leader.