It?s going to be a very long election campaign.
There are 90 days to go and I’m already tiring of the meaningless soundbites and shameless photo opportunities. By about lunchtime on Monday I fully anticipate most of us will be thoroughly sick of everything being “weaponised” by politicians. Hospitals have already been “weaponised” and it looks like schools are heading the same way. Before we know it they’ll be weaponising the armed forces and nuclear submarines and then where will we be.
Of course schools probably need to be weaponised if only to defend themselves against David Cameron who in one of the week?s more ridiculous soundbites declared “all-out war” on under-performing schools.
Seems a bit much. Cameron wields the combined might of the armed forces while most schools are armed with nothing more dangerous than a few staplers and the dented cutlery in the school canteen.
Sticking with the theme of Boots on the ground, sort of. The boss of the high street chemist this week launched a stinging attack on Ed Miliband and his plans to make the super rich pay a bit more/some tax (delete as applicable).
Funnily enough, Stefano Pessina found no shortage of support among multi-millionaire media owners keen to help him champion the cause of the ‘tax efficient’.
Next up was former M&S boss turned Tory peer Stuart Rose who revealed the entirely unsurprising news that he doesn’t want the opposition winning the next election. Hold the front page! Oh, they did…
Also picking a fight with Ed Miliband over taxes this week was former Arsenal and England footballer Sol Campbell. That?s right, Sol Campbell versus Ed Miliband. It?s exactly the sort of meeting of minds that literally nobody got interested in politics to witness. One is famous for scoring disallowed goals, the other is famous for scoring own goals.
Campbell, who joins Myleene Klass and Bill Oddie on the growing list of unlikely celebrities shaping political debate in Britain, apparently considers himself something of an expert on the mansion tax, based on the fact he owns a couple.
Campbell who doesn’t like the mansion tax (see above point about the fact he owns a couple) took to Twitter to criticise Miliband?s employment history, suggesting the Labour leader has never known real work.
Not like those Premiership footballers.
And don?t get Sol started on MPs being paid handsomely to swan around the country in luxury coaches performing to crowds of highly partisan supporters.
He probably hates that.
However, it wasn’t all bad news for Labour on the business front. Ed Balls went on Newsnight to offer reassurances that there are still some business figures who back Labour, such as Bill. You know, Bill. He’s like Pele, Prince or Madonna he doesn’t need two names. He’s just Bill.
Ed makes a Balls of things on Newsnight.
Speaking of bills (see what I did there), it was revealed this week that the Tories are shoveling £100,000 per month into Facebook advertising in an attempt to get people to like them.
Labour also unveiled a new, marginally more sophisticated PR approach this week, intended it appears to limit the personal attacks on Ed Miliband. The party announced it won’t be using any pictures of David Cameron on billboard posters this time around, despite not being shy about such things in the past, and has suggested the whole election should really be fought on “issues not personalities”.
I wonder what gave them that idea…
Whyever would Labour want to focus on issues and not personalities?
The Conservatives are yet to announce if they will reciprocate but clearly Labour are trying to establish a moratorium on personal attacks having realised Ed Miliband’s public image poses a significant threat to their hopes of election victory. (For more on this, see: Labour tries to head off Miliband’s PR problem).
Of course this election won’t just be contested by Labour and the Conservatives.
FUKP, the party founded in-character by comedian Al Murray’s Pub Landlord went on something of a jolly boys outing to Thanet this week to kick-start his campaign opposing Nigel Farage and the UKIP leader’s band of far less satirical bigots.
Murray worked his way through the full range of textbook photo opportunites: High-vis jacket and hard hat, check. Pulling a pint down the local, check…
And what of UKIP? Well they were giving irony a good kicking this week as Steve Berry pointed out on Twitter:
And it’s not just UKIP who have been reminding people to register to vote (you can register here by the way).
Thursday was National Voter Registration Day, marked by a series of events and recruitment drives around the country, all seeking to undo any damage done by new BBC2 documentary Inside the Commons which re-enforced almost every notion that our elected representatives in Westminster are a chronically out-of-touch, living, breathing anachronism.
Part history programme, part archaeological dig, part fly-on-the-wall mockumentary, Inside The Commons took us deep into the cigar-smoked, statue-lined corridors and oak-paneled cloakrooms, subsidised restaurants and stained-glass tearooms of Parliament which apparently all reminds David ‘we’re really not all in this together’ Cameron of being back at school.
Rotherham MP Sarah Champion was just about the only politician to emerge with credibility in tact from the programme. Champion’s plain-speaking assessment of Prime Ministers Questions (which it turns out is actually even more farcical than many of us may have imagined) offered a rare glimmer of sanity in an hour of brilliant, but slightly appalling television.
“The behaviour in there is disgusting,” she said of the weekly spectacle. “Really embarrassingly juvenile.”
But at least nobody offended any nuns, unlike Tristram Hunt on Question Time this week.
It’s going to be a very long election campaign.