Election 2015 – Coming Soon to a Doorstep Near You

Our next PM? Ed Miliband By Department of Energy (WhatDoTheyKnow: Photographs of Ministers (file)) [OGL (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/1/)], via Wikimedia Commons

Can 4 million conversations really save 
Ed Miliband’s bacon?

Don’t be surprised if Labour leader Ed Miliband turns up on your doorstep in the next few weeks. He’ll probably be wearing a rosette – though he’d be wise not to team it with one of those controversial “This is what a feminist looks like T-shirts”. Whatever you do, don’t offer to make him a bacon buttie or ask him if he’s read today’s Daily Mail.

It’s not just Ed or his former Shadow Cabinet colleague Emily Thornberry who have taken a pasting in the media recently. Across the spectrum, politicians face a constant battle not to look ridiculous every time they open their mouths or step out of the Westminster bubble long enough to stick 2p in a beggar’s cup.

Even the usually media savvy UKIP leader Nigel Farage failed to see the funny side of the recent Ukik app, branding this parody “pathetic” and making himself look pretty risible in the process. So it takes some chutzpah for the Labour Party to announce that the battle for the 2015 General Election will be fought on Britain’s doorsteps.

In Manchester yesterday, Ed Miliband declared “Our campaign is setting the goal of holding four million conversations with people in just four months about how we change our country.” Yes, he really does mean face-to-face chats – not leaflets, phone calls or (God forbid) tweets to potential voters.

Long before we get to polling day, I’ll be wishing that “Nicholas Fromage” would put me out of my misery by booting me off the White Cliffs of Dover

Though it’s only the first week of January, I suspect many people will already be as bored as I am by the 2015 General Election and everything that entails. The long-suffering British electorate must now endure the full four months’ worth of electioneering that follows five dismal years of coalition government.

Long before we get to polling day, I’ll be wishing that “Nicholas Fromage” would put me out of my misery by booting me off the White Cliffs of Dover. Suck it up voters!

It’s bad enough having political mouthpieces spouting the same clichés, false promises and dodgy statistics from now until Election Day on 7 May. The Tories with their feeble “Let’s Stay on the Road to a Stronger Economy” slogan (it’s not even a British road in the poster), and Labour with its “Cost of Living Contract”.

At least on TV you have the option to switch off or employ one of our greatest inventions – the mute button. What will you do if the candidates turn up on your doorstep?

Labour’s dim but well-meaning Tessa Jowell appeared on BBC’s Daily Politics, insisting that UK voters want the “intimacy” of doorstep conversations. If by intimacy, she means the opportunity to swear, throw eggs or stick one of those rosettes where the sun don’t shine, there might be some truth in her statement.

I think what most voters want is genuine change in our political system. What we don’t want is the dismal spectacle of one bunch of Oxbridge-educated, intellectually feeble, self-serving career politicians being replaced by some slightly younger models.

In the run-up to the 2010 poll I was living just down the road from Hammersmith. All the parties wisely opted to save money and reduce their carbon footprint by not bothering to canvass. There were no leaflets (until the final week) and not a single caller: it was the most blissfully low-key election campaign I can remember.

Unfortunately 2015 could be very different.

Sorry, Mr Miliband, but I’ll be treating canvassers from all parties the same way I treat representatives from the Jehovah’s Witnesses brandishing copies of Watchtower magazine. My front door is staying closed until after 7 May.

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