Week three on the campaign trail and things are heating up

With the announcement of the party manifestos and the ‘Challengers’ debate on Thursday, the third week of campaigning has been a busy one for politics and the latest polls suggest that 7th May is set to hold the closest general election the UK has seen for decades. There is now less than 24 hours left for those who are not already registered to vote to grab their chance to wield what is arguably the most influence they will be able to until 2020.

Clearly another hung parliament is in store for the UK, with the latest polls suggesting that Labour is likely to just about grab onto the most seats, meaning the Tories will lose out by a tiny margin and return to the opposition. Having said that, the ever-allusive ‘shy’ Tory voter makes polls difficult to trust and the outcome in May even more unpredictable.

Things have been heating up this week, but if you have been hiding under a rock somewhere, here is a round-up of what you missed:

1. After being advised to avoid ‘name-calling’ tactics against Ed Milliband earlier in the week, David Cameron was then serenaded whilst campaigning in Alnwick by a man with a ukulele who politely requested that he “fuck off back to Eton”… He was considerate enough to suggest that he take his “Eton chums” along with him, however to add insult to injury the ‘singer’ then released a video of the song on YouTube in which his dear old nan did a series of “improvised dance moves”, highlights of which included her swearing at Cameron through the camera. This is following last week’s video of Yanek Zylinksi challenging Nigel Farage to a duel and I really hope this sort of thing becomes a continuing weekly trend.

2. During UKIP’s manifesto launch on Wednesday a journalist from The Telegraph asked Nigel Farage why the only ethnic minority “face” was on the page concerning overseas aid and he was met with heckling, booing and clapping from members of the audience… Farage opted to join in on the clapping himself, rather than answer the question… no intelligent response then? What a surprise.

3. The picture which has been said to sum up the ‘Challengers’ debate on Thursday evening was that of Nicola Sturgeon, Leanne Wood and Natalie Bennett embracing whilst Ed Milliband looks on (only a courteous handshake for him), with Farage not even in the picture at all (considering he managed to alienate the entire audience during the debate this is particularly apt). The main thing to come out of this debate thought, I think, was that it displayed the fantastically intelligent women we have in our political system at the moment who ought to be taken seriously.

4. The Lib Dem’s released their manifesto on Wednesday along with Nick Clegg’s somewhat ‘Wizard of Oz-ian’ pledge to “add a heart to a Conservative government and add a brain to a Labour one”. Reading between the lines of their manifesto, which lacks any red lines drawn on any specific policy issues, makes it abundantly clear that they would be capable of forming a coalition with either one of the two main parties in May. Indeed, the latest polls suggest that the Lib Dems could well be staying put for another 5 years.

5. In a slightly spooky turn of events, voters in Hampstead and Kilburn could inadvertently end up with a ghost as their local MP. Ronnie Carroll unfortunately passed away on Monday but his name is still on the ballot paper for this marginal London seat and because of certain electoral rules it cannot be taken off.

6. And last but certainly not least, Jonno Turner showed his support for The Labour Party with the rather unorthodox decision to replace the faces of various members of his family, including his dog, with the face of Ed Milliband on his mother’s family photographs. If anyone was ever wondering what a baby with Milliband’s face would look like, the answer is here and it is nothing short of disturbing.

The number of people registered to vote in the UK was at 46,139,940 at the end of 2013, but this had fallen to 45,325,078 by the end of 2014. Political apathy and disillusionment with politicians is a continuing problem in this country but it is so important to make sure your voice is heard. It is now less than three weeks until the election and whoever you decide to vote for, make sure your voice is heard in May!

It only takes two minutes to register – https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Image Courtesy of Peter Macdiarmid via Getty

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