29 days to go – the canaries or the candidates?

In Norfolk we are well-served by the local radio station – BBC Radio Norfolk – and we also have a popular local newspaper, the Eastern Daily Press (EDP). The main story for both of them has been the excellent recent performances of Norwich City (the Canaries) who are now in the running for promotion from the Championship (or second division) to the Premiership. The EDP manages to produce three pages on Norwich City on most days and six pages on a Saturday while BBC Radio Norfolk broadcasts two weekly programmes.   Last week’s big story was that a Norwich City fan’s mother accidentally cooked 16 tickets her son had bought for an upcoming football match at Brighton. The poor lady picked up the envelope containing the tickets as she popped a chicken into roast.

With such exciting news available it is not surprising that politics takes second place. However, so far there is has been little to report locally. We are at the stage when the parties are concentrating on completing all their nominations for the District Council elections. The next stage is delivery of leaflets and securing poster sites in prominent gardens. This is hardly the stuff to fill front pages. There have been no surprise candidates nor major incidents.

The truth is that the campaign is too long. This is the first general election under a fixed term Parliament – a change introduced as part of the coalition agreement between the Conservatives and the LibDems. We have known the election date of May 7th for the last five years. The frisson of excitement that had previously accompanied the announcement of dissolution and the election date has been missing.   For the parties it is a long slog and I suspect much of the electorate has simply been bored. Until something out of the ordinary happens it must be a challenge for the journalists to file sufficient copy.

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