Poster wars

Perhaps it is false memory, but my hazy recollections of elections from that other country, the past, suggest a veritable forest of garden boards. As for window posters, it was an ocean – honest!

Certainly this election, in Southend-on-Sea, has been decidedly low-key as regards to both garden and window decoration. It is almost as if this usually Conservative certainty has been overwhelmed by bashfulness. Maybe, though, it is less reluctance to admit Tory proclivities than an admission that lacklustre representation both at Westminster and locally has finally taken its toll.

Now, before the howls of protest begin let me admit that this is no scientific analysis. Let me also admit to not having trod every footpath. That being said, I have travelled, I have been abroad in my hometown, I have wandered the highways of Westcliff, Leigh and Southend.

You cannot get away from the impression that in numbers it is Labour that is winning it. We have more garden boards and posters up in the areas I have been to. It is not even close; I am sure those who fly the flag for the other parties will contest my findings, but they are only jostling for the runners-up spot. It is Labour that leads.

Labour first then, and I call it for the Tories in the silver medal position. A podium finish, but some way from victory. I give bronze to UKIP. After that it is the Greens, then the Independents, and finally the Liberal Democrats.

Does it matter? Of course it is votes that matter, and only votes. But it sure feels strange to live in a town that I am assured is safely Conservative and yet find little evidence to back that up.

You have to ask yourself: is it only a safe seat because they keep telling us it is?


5 Responses to Poster wars

  1. Much the same up here in the safe Northern (English) Seat that I live in. But last week I travelled to the Midlands (of England) for a few days and you would not have known that there was an election on.

    Perhaps just as membership of political parties has dropped over the last two to three decades, even willingness to declare allegiance has dropped. We may also find in a fortnight that even willingness to express a secret preference has dropped.

    The fringe of politicking has always been distasteful; the expenses scandal made the the core politics look distasteful. Now the professionalisation and remoteness of the main campaigns (leaders isolated from real voters) coupled with a reluctance to positively campaign detaches us ordinary normal voters from politics.

    For most of us outside the marginals we are not part of this election; our views don’t really matter – in my (Conservative) constituency Labour has (logically) realised it can’t win and is emailing supporters telling them to go to Carlisle. Logically the Tories will be doing the same. So unless you are a party stalwart or request a poster you won’t get one. And unless you are rabid in your support you won’t display one. I mean, what’s the point?

  2. Whilst we must target we must also campaign everywhere. I think this slavish allegiance to only bothering where we think we can win may give short-term gains, but in the long run it is debilitating. Campaigning is not just about winning, surely? It is also about raising awareness, about ensuring democracy actually functions, and about finding new activists and growing your support. Historically Southend West is not fertile ground fro labour, but I am fighting the best campaign I can with limited resources.

  3. Graham says:

    Simple, ignore the electorate, and they will ignore you. But if you keep making yourself known the you at least have a chance, someday, of having a victory.

  4. paul van looy says:

    julian where is my comment

  5. paul van looy: I do not know – where did you put it? I have not deleted anything from you.

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