NOT only has this been the most elongated election in history, but the campaign has lacked the drama of previous campaigns such as the infamous moment when John Prescott, the then Deputy Prime Minister, brawled with an egg-throwing protester in 2001 – or when Gordon Brown was caught on a microphone describing voter Gillian Duffy as a “bigoted woman” for daring to question levels of immigration.
Yet, despite the election strategists doing their very best to keep their leaders at arm’s length from the voting public, who has packed a punch in the 2015 campaign – and who has under-performed? Tom Richmond, The Yorkshire Post’s Op-Ed Editor, offers this assessment.
THE GOOD: The BBC Question Time audience in Leeds – by a knockout. This was the night when the election came alive and when David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg were each confronted with 160 Gillian Duffys who refused to take ‘no’ for an answer. Compelling viewing and far more effective than the previous TV leaders’ debates, it exposed the breakdown of trust between Westminster’s leaders and the country at large. Perhaps political leaders will now think twice about their propensity not to answer questions. It may suit them at Prime Minister’s Questions - but such this tactic did not serve them well in front of this plain-speaking audience who spoke for all those who have lost faith, and trust, in politicians.
THE BAD: David Cameron. Unlike Ed Miliband who wants to under-promise and over-deliver, the Prime Minister has over-promised and under-delivered on the campaign trail. He should be proud of the economic reforms that his Government has presided over – he had a success story to tell – but he failed to find his voice until late on. Given his PR background, it is surprising that the Tory leader has been such a poor performer and allowed Labour to dictate terms. One former Labour minister, who is more sympathetic than some towards Mr Cameron, was astonished that the Conservatives did so little to rebut Mr Miliband’s proposal to introduce 1970s-style rent controls which could leave housing tenants worse off.
THE UGLY: Russell Brand. At least David Cameron had the sense not to ingratiate himself with the so-called comedian Russell Brand unlike Ed Miliband’s fawning late-night encounter at the home of the former drug addict. Yet why was so much time devoted to this befuddled buffoon who had been urging his social media followers not to vote before urging them to back Labour? Politicians, and the rest of the country for that matter, have enough challenges without kowtowing to this rabble-rouser who has never had anything useful, or pertinent, to say on the big issues of the day. It’s time that he was ignored – for good.
What were your election highlights – and lowlights? Let us know...