Thursday, 22 April 2010

Politics is boring? You CANNOT be serious

Go on, admit it. This election is turning out to be far more exciting, fun and unpredictable than you ever imagined, isn’t it?

Now, I know not everybody subscribes to my long-held belief that politics is the most underrated sport in this country but I really hope that more and more people are enjoying what is turning out to be a splendidly confusing electoral battle.

Let’s be honest, for the past few elections we’ve pretty much known who was going to win before a vote was cast. It’s a bit like watching Premiership football – if you’re a Wigan fan you have great hopes but you always secretly know that Manchester United or Chelsea are going to dash them spectacularly.

But in this General Election absolutely nothing is fixed and all the bosses of all the teams in this year’s campaign must be feeling suddenly very hopeful at the moment.

What really set the rabbit running in the whole campaign was last week’s first ever TV debate between the three main party leaders. I said in this column last week (perhaps more in hope than expectation) that I hoped people would tune in – and millions duly did. And, if that wasn’t enough, many of them clearly changed their vote (or at least their current thinking) on the basis of what they saw.

It was once said in a very different age that a week is a long time in politics – nowadays just 90 televised minutes is all it takes to change a political landscape.

If we agree (and let’s be honest we all agree) that Nick Clegg was the victor on the first night, then both of the other leading candidates shouldn’t panic. Instead they should feel encouraged that a good performance can totally transform perspectives – as Mr Clegg proved last week. It was, after all, only the first of three gruelling boxing rounds.

Before that debate the opinion polls had been steady, if a little inconsistent but afterwards they became confused, if a little crazed. What this showed above all was that none of the parties have clearly made the big breakthrough they yearn for and the electorate is as volatile as an Icelandic volcano.

The national debate has obviously helped keep up the local interest as well and the seats we are covering are very lively indeed.

In Bath, for example, no sooner had we finished putting together a page in the Bath Chronicle asking ten questions to all the candidates we knew about, than another four candidates duly emerged at the last minute to give us all an extraordinarily and unexpectedly diverse choice.

One of the new candidates whose name and identity are not being revealed, certainly caused a stir when he walked into our office looking vaguely like an extra from The Magical Mystery Tour/Mad Max/Rock The Casbah video (take your pick) and from that point on we realised that this campaign was truly a one-off.

Now I know I will never be able to convince everyone that this is all more fun than a night out with Alan Partridge but I just think this election is one that we should revel in because it is just so hard to call. And it is changing by the minute.

The truth is, the only thing that is certain about this election now is that nothing is certain.

Politics fun? You better believe it.

1 comment:

ChrisCross said...

It most certainly is more exciting than a night out with Alan Partridge... Oh, Sam,I DO miss the buzz of being involved in elections...