Was it only two years ago? For every day of a mercifully short by-election campaign, early morning trains from London to Crewe were packed out with politicians and their array of hangers on, pursued by the assembled hackery, all sent north to campaign, or observe the campaigning. Not this time round.
Because, apart from the Tory attack ads (which have taken over several poster hoardings around Crewe), you might be forgiven for not knowing there was a General Election coming up. Thus far, I’ve not seen a poster for either incumbent Tory Edward Timpson, Labour challenger David Williams, or Lib Dem hopeful Roy Wood adorning a front room window – or house garden (the last window poster I saw was in London’s Docklands last Friday, and it only registered because it was large, and Labour).
Fortunately, even the “literature” has been of modest proportions this time as well: there have been leaflets from Williams and Timpson, and Wood featured on the latest Lib Dem “Focus” flyer, and, well, that has been that. Timpson is keeping up his regular email bulletins, but none of the three major party candidates seem to be out and about canvassing. Of the party leaders, only Young Dave has made a visit, and even that was kept quiet until after the event. The best Labour have done is to send “Shagger” Prescott (“traditional misbehaviour in a modern setting”), while the Lib Dem “stars” seem to be too busy elsewhere.
Is it going to get a little more interesting? I certainly hope so, whatever the outcome. The thought enters that there is too much emphasis on media driven set piece events at the expense of old fashioned campaigning – or that “Redbrick Crewe” may have been written off by at least the Tories as not worth the candle.I’ll be out and about in Crewe town centre next weekend, and hope to see some real politicians doing some real politics. It’s not just about those TV debates, folks!