The long and winding campaign trail to nowhere

LEP Columnist Barry Freeman
LEP Columnist Barry Freeman
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As we stagger drained, confused and, ultimately, impotent to the end of this long, long, long #GE15 campaign (what is it now, eight years? More? Memory fails.

When did that Conservative poster with the road to Nuremburg on it come out? Was that even this century? Feels like it was shortly after Xmas 1975, but that would be madness; at the same time, though, there is no doubt I have aged at least 40 years since then. Hell, last Thursday’s horrendous stage managed Ask The Leaders Who Can’t Be In The Same Room Simultaneously ‘event’ put five years on me alone. Where on Earth did they find that audience? The Royal Yorkshire Home for the Politically Idiotic?

A smattering of posers aside, you’d expect more incisive and better thought-out questions from a playgroup given one hour and a copy of The Sun to get themselves up to speed on the issues of the day. They’d definitely do better than repeatedly shouting: ‘You think that your view is more important than ours,’ in response to a politician offering an opinion on an issue then asking you to take or leave that in the polling booth several days hence.

Incidentally, anyone who – like me – has found exhausting this apparently endless media manipulated mad montage of obfuscation, deflection, omission and smear wrapped up as politics had best get used to it.

Whatever the dubious and seldom specified benefits of the five-year fixed term might be, the single biggest shoe in the pips it doles our body public is that by fixing a date on the calendar so far in advance we are now more or less locked for all time into the interminable US presidential-type campaign. From here on in, the last few months of every parliament will be given over to tacit electioneering, and they’ll start ramming the first posters and pamphlets down your poor neck long before you recycle the festive fir. No problem, clearly for our mostly openly Atlanticist political elite, and am confident it fulfils all their fevered West Wing fantasies but, at the end of the day, most of us didn’t watch that show, because it looked like your typical melodramatic smug US rubbish. Still, is good for them, and their armies of spin doctors, and the 24-hour media which has just loved the flow of content), what, if anything, have we learned?

Nothing. Nothing at all. The polls are more or less where they were at the start. The converted have been preached at. Now pack up your prejudices and go vote.