Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Who will win the election?

Writing a blog is a hard taskmaster. It sits there in the undercover of my electronic clutter and every now and again I'm ambushed by a guilty thought which takes me in this direction. The link on our church's webpage is another rather provocative reminder to me of my literary inertia. Anyhow, this week I'm a little ahead of the game, so am able to spare the moment or two that this takes. I'm ahead of the game not only because my weekly preparation is ahead of schedule, but because I've got a rather busy schedule to do with the election behind me as well. No, I'm not standing for election, and I've not been out there canvassing for some party or other, but I was quite busy organising a local hustings, or public question time event with our local parliamentary candidates, and we were fortunate enough to get the sitting candidate and the main rivals to come along.
It was a most interesting evening from a few different perspectives. I found the audience an interesting mix of camp followers and engaged and knowledgable local people many of whom were new to my aquaintance. The candidates themselves were interesting too, as of course they would be. They represented a healthhy range of experience, age and attitude, and so I discovered that I had a good and varied "menu" from which to choose on polling day.
Now, I chanced to see some of Panorama's "Who will win the election?" programme with Nate Silver, the American polster who gets it right. One of the points he made was that the polls get it wrong because they don't really manage to take into consideration "the local influence", part of which is our knowledge of the local candidates. So what is at work is more than party loyalties and preferences, but sympathies and preferences for people who have impressed or disappointed us outwith a party political arena. That's why I like local engagement with our political players. We might still vote along party lines, but we might be stimulated not to as well. It can upset the apple cart. I beleive that whatever the outcome of this election, it will underline the message of the last election, which was that the 2 party monopoly is over. Days of negotiation, compromise, cooperation, constructive dialogue lie ahead. And you know what? I think we, the electorate, and the way in which parliament works shall all win in those circumstances.

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