SORRY – undecided. Somebody pointed out on the radio today that David Cameron had mentioned his target group, The Great Ignored, only once, on the very first day of his campaign. An adviser had presumably reminded him that it was too reminiscent of The Great Unwashed, a term coined in the mid 19th-Century to describe the so-called ‘lower classes.’ Personally, I wish he’d stuck to his theme: it finds an echo in my lonely heart. Deep in a safe Tory constituency – William Hague’s – I can’t kid myself that my vote is vital, but it would have been nice to have somebody at least knock on the door and ask my intentions (or even my opinions – I’ve got loads of those). I’ve never been collared in the street by a pollster, much less a politician. Unless you count the time David Cameron stopped to pat Harry on the head in Eynsham. ‘What a smart little dog. Must be a Tory,’ he commented. Ian rather tetchily drew his attention to Harry’s red lead and Harry said he was nobody’s patsy and would make up his own mind, thank you very much.
Likewise his mistress. But I’m leaning to the Lib Dems. I don’t think anybody has the answer to the massive economic catastrophe – certainly not the bunch of incompetents who’ve caused it – and in truth I can see little ideological difference between the parties. The arguments seem to be entirely about not if (that’s a given) but when the cuts will come. Watching the violent demonstrations in Athens because of the austerity measures the government there has put in place, brings little comfort. Could it happen here? You bet.
So, though I still haven’t finally made up my mind and have little faith in any of them to make a positive difference to our lives, I look at just two Lib Dem policies: voting reform, and the so-called amnesty for illegal immigrants. Nick Clegg’s argument on the latter is subtle, clever and intelligent. It’s been deliberately misrepresented by opponents, and latched onto by the right-wing press to discredit him. But he’s had the guts to put it on the agenda, knowing it could so easily be misconstrued, and that takes courage and integrity, both in short supply among politicians these days.
Roll on Thursday. Harry can’t wait . . .