So the race has started and they’re off. Three cities for the Tory leader and five for Charlie K by tea time. And I compare this to my girlfriend’s grumbles about not wanting to make the cross-town trip from Bethnal Green to Kingston for a few hours on Saturday. Puts things in perspective, eh?
But with just over 24 hours gone in the contest, I’ve had my first pieces of election material sent to my inbox. The Lib Dems’ youth section was quickest off the mark, offering to bribe me – bribe? Sorry, I meant pay – with my travel costs to help campaign. If that wasn’t enticing enough they can offer me a sofa or a floor somewhere too. Hmmm... I may take a rain check.
Then CK (does his office still call him that? For the love of God, why?) cranked out his bit, presumably while on his jet to Newcastle (impressive multitasking I thought). It was the usual guff, but what caught my eye was a bit at the bottom asking those with websites and blogs if they would like to plaster ‘Support Lib Dem’ banners all over their patch of cyberspace.
Me? Sorry, I’m declining. How can I be dispassionate and critical of all candidates if I’ve got someone’s label all over this blog? And besides, there could be a further reason, which I must come to: over who to vote for. The latest polls put the electorate in volatile mood and I can sympathise.
For the last 11 years I’ve voted tactically, usually to unseat the Tories. This time round commentators are talking about tactical voting working against Labour. And given Blair’s ill-timed words yesterday – “You [the British people] are the boss” – perhaps it’s about time he got a kicking, especially after he ignored those of us who marched against war two years ago.
Not that I want the Tories back in. But I want Blair’s wings clipped. And that means reducing his majority, boosting the capacity of his awkward squad and making it more difficult for them to pass offensive legislation like that on detention without trial. So how can this be done in Bethnal Green? Well, apparently Respect has a good chance of beating Oona King, but only if it’s done tactically. Unfortunately though, I don’t find George Galloway particularly attractive and the party he leads seems dubious, harking back to a world which only the SWP wants. So what do I do? Hold my nose and vote for him? Is there any other way of unseating Labour here? It’s going to be an interesting few weeks, methinks.
Finally, some entertaining news from the Lib Dem website:
Interested in standing?So much for the comprehensive all-day development day I underwent a few years ago during which all prospective candidates were assessed and rigorously scrutinised before being unleashed on unsuspecting party members - and if successful, on the public. I can never get that cold, bleak and rainy day back – in Warrington of all places…
If you are interested in becoming a candidate yourself, please email
the Candidates Office (England) or the Scottish or Welsh Liberal Democrats.