Friday, April 22, 2005

On the Campaign Trail

For the last week I've undergone interweb cold turkey on account of being ensconsed in one of England's safer constituencies, pounding the streets on behalf of a major political party.

Pretentious shroud of anonymity aside, the limited feeling I've picked up from middle England's doorstep is, perhaps, predictable. Aside from the usual core of rock-solid Tories and Old Labour socialists (as well as a scattering of Lib-Dem loyalists) the most common feeling has been one of total dissatisfaction (bordering on disgust) with Blair. I say Blair rather than Labour, as the most common reaction has been "we have to get that man out". Immigration is, sadly, a popular topic for concern, but residual anger over the war was stronger than I expected, especially given national polls which show it low down the list of concerns.

One powerful impression was of more active engagement than 2001. It would be downright stupid to extrapolate national feeling from such a tiny, unbalanced sample, but nonetheless it was encouraging to feel that people this time around are really taking an interest.

2 Comments:

Blogger Eddie said...

It's very interesting when you get out onto the streets and engage people on the politics of this campaign. As you have discovered, there is a lot bubbling under the surface that is not being picked up on the national polls.

We could all be very surprised on May 6th. I think the final result is predictable, but there could be some rather odd and apparently random local or regional swings in strange directions.

It's been disappointing how little the war has been mentioned in this campaign. It's hardly a trivial issue, but Labour and the Tories want people to obsess over the fatness of their wallets instead. In such a face-off, there can only be one winner...

4/22/2005 01:11:00 pm  
Blogger CLP said...

Couldn't have put it better myself (and I did try)! The big two parties are clearly trying to turn this into a debate over economics which makes things boring as 1) things swiftly degenerate into a highly theoretical argument over possible savings and likely tax revenue, and 2) in this day and age, economic policies of the major parties are broadly the same (I'll make an exception for the Lib-Dems, whose proposed abolition of Council Tax is, at least, interesting and novel).

I hope social and cultural issues play a larger part in this election. Speaking of the war check out The Guardian for an interesting if predictable feature about how anti-war marchers will vote.

4/22/2005 03:41:00 pm  

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