Friday, 30 April 2010

Election things

During several weeks of decorating and d-i-y I’ve done a lot of listening to the radio, and it has all been about the election. I know some people shout at the tv: I’m afraid I’ve become a groaner-at-the-radio. In fact there has been a real shortage of speech programmes on any topics other than politics. On several occasions I’ve switched it off and listened instead to podcasts.

It became too tedious in the first official week of the campaign when we got onto where the leaders wives were today, and to the colour of the leader’s ties. Even the Guardian has had four journalists writing on the fashion stakes of this election.

I watched with enthusiasm the first two tv leadership debates, but what a shame that the broadcasters, who worked so hard to get the debates agreed, really descended into ‘who won who lost’. They should surely have been used as an important opportunity to look at the manifestos, and challenge the leaders on policies.

My shouting-at-the-telly moment came straight after the second debate when Newsnight’s Kirsty Wark asked some pundit “….as a tv event, how was it….and lets look now at the body language of the leaders….”

Meanwhile, out in the real world, I’ve been struck by the absence of campaigners, canvassers, door knockers, and particularly roadside posters, in shops and in houses. There is just one large Labour poster visible on 1 mile of Kingsland Road; apart from that I haven’t seen any others, of any hue.

I thought it might be that in my constituency of Hackney South and Shoreditch, with Labour having a 10,000 majority in 2005, the other parties decided not to seriously contest it. Then I looked more closely at my junk mail and other stuff. On May 6 we are invited to vote in 3 elections: general election, local election, and an election for the mayor of Hackney.

This translates into a choice of 28 candidates to choose from, representing a rich collection of interests. Among them are: Conservative Party, Christian Party, Communist Party of Britain, Communist League, Green Party, Independent, Liberal Party, Liberal Democrats, Liberal Democrats-For A Greener Britain, Labour Party,

Direct Democracy (Communist) Party, UK Independence Party, Christian Party “Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship”. No Monster Raving Loony Party….shame.

Campaign literature that has come through my door

One much discussed topic in the campaign has been Voting Reform. If you are interested in this and don’t know the difference between Proportional Representation, First past the Post, Single Transferable Vote, Alternative Vote and so on there are definitions here.

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