I don’t mind admitting it, I’ve voted tactically in the past. However, doing so on Thursday would be a colossal mistake, in my not so humble opinion. It would merely serve to prop up the two-party system. If people vote for whatever and whoever they want, there’s a real chance that the popular vote could show, beyond reasonable doubt, that the two-party system is no longer fit for purpose, to use the mgmtspk phrase of the day.
I can’t work out whether the Labour people in Hull North are clever, lucky or a bit of both. The Lib Dem candidate is called Denis Healy. So, they’ve gone to the former Labour Chancellor and poster boy for eyebrows Denis Healey and asked him to endorse the Labour candidate Diana Johnson. Which he has done, allowing them to print posters like this:
Devious? Passing off? Or mad not to lean on that open door? The latter, emphatically.
After yesterday’s very pleasant encounters, I’d love to hear from anyone who’s looking at this blog. Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org, whatever you want to say.
Also, it occurs to me that some people in the constituency might be inclined to put a NOTA poster in their window if one were available. As I don’t have the campaign resources of the parties, I’m offering rather fetching colour and monochrome posters as PDFs for the disgruntled of Waveney to print off themselves.
Colour – http://www.sendspace.com/file/ed878m
Well, that was a thoroughly life-affirming visit to the town centre, and I don’t just mean the saveloy and chips I got from the Dolphin. I didn’t hand out too many leaflets, as I work on the basis that most people don’t want to be hassled. Fortunately, my campaign manager, Lyttelton (7 years old, Cavalier/Jack Russell cross – pictured left), is less reticent and opens a lot of conversations for me by sniffing, doing her puppy dog eyes and generally being cute. The people I did speak to were 100% receptive to the NOTA concept. That doesn’t have to translate into votes, but they get what I’m trying to do, which is good for me, and potentially quite worrying for the other candidates. One lady expressed approval for the NOTA idea, but said she wasn’t voting for me, which is fair enough. She said she wanted to vote Lib Dem, but was worried that it would be a wasted vote. I told her that was what the other two wanted her to think and that she should vote for whoever she believed in most. Under FPTP, it might be a wasted vote, but the more support the Lib Dems get in simple overall percentage terms, the more compelling the case for electoral reform becomes, and this whole contest seems to be indicating that such reform would be desirable.
Quite heartening was a young man approaching me with the words “It’s the famous Louis Barfe from the Journal“. I said that infamous would be more apt, but the conversation we had suggests that, if his friends and family are typical, a lot of people have read about me in the EDP and the Journal and they get what I’m trying to do as well.
One question he asked was why I hadn’t attended the hustings at Christ Church, a ‘teeth and smiles/grin and bear it’ picture of the other five having appeared in this week’s Journal. The simple answer is that I had no idea that it was happening, and that nobody invited me. I hope it was an honest oversight, but I do think there’s a perception in some quarters that because I have no policies and am standing as ‘none of the above’ I will have nothing worthwhile to say. Maybe so, but I’m a validly-nominated candidate, and the value of my words is for the punters to judge, isn’t it?
I’m just off out into Lowestoft town centre to hand out a few of my home-knitted leaflets and explain the NOTA weltschmerz, but before I go, two things amuse from the campaign verbiage of others in the region. Among the questionnaires in Thursday’s Eastern Daily Press was one from Dave ‘Coughing Bob’ Fleming, the BNP’s hopeless, sorry, hateful, sorry, hopeful in Norfolk North West. Under education, he put “grammer school” [sic].
Meanwhile, back on the Waveney beat, UKIP’s Jack Tyler begins his campaign blatt with “So, freeborn Briton, take back your birthright!”. It’s just one click away from “So, son of Albion, daub yourself in woad and sit on the A12 asking ‘Are you from these parts?’ of every motorist you hinder”. I also fully expect him to enter the Bungay hustings on Tuesday dressed in chain mail. He goes on to say “This land is your land. It could be your children’s land. It could be your grandchildren’s land but only if you stand up to be counted at the general election!”. Quite apart from the excess of exclamation marks (never a good sign), he appears to be saying “Vote UKIP, or your children will have nowhere to live”. Which is bollocks, obviously. Then there’s the small problem of quoting ‘This land is your land’. Does he realise who wrote it? Step forward, the very left-wing American folk singer Woody Guthrie.
L’esprit de l”escalier is a phrase referring to that situation where you come up with the thing you should have said, but too late for it to have any effect. It kind of describes the questionnaire that I was asked to complete for the EDP, which appears today. Drained from telling them which member of Steps I fancied most and which vaginal deodorant I use, I made a bish of attempting to list my favourite radio programmes. Everything listed is something I do genuinely enjoy, but I forgot to mention The Late Paul Barnes on BBC radio for the eastern counties. It really is rather marvellous, and I suspect that I will not be allowed to forget this slip. So, there’s my campaign gaffe.
Credit where it’s due. Gordon Brown’s ‘bigoted woman’ comment was a refreshing burst of honesty, and, let’s be frank, he had a point about her. However, in this topsy-turvy world, where real life resembles The Thick Of It ever more closely, a politician actually speaking his mind is, somehow, a bad thing, m’kay. I don’t know why the media aren’t going all the way and running some “Monocular Jock sociopath steals expensive microphone” stories too. Whose microphone was it, by the way? Sky News, you say? Funny that.