12 days to go – hoping someone takes notice

Friday’s front-page headline in the Daily Telegraph was ‘Labour Minister attacks Miliband’. It was the news I had been expecting. To date this campaign has been remarkable for the complete absence of open dissent in Labour’s ranks. Normally you can rely on a number of discontented mavericks to ‘gob off’ (to use the technical term) at some stage or other. Indeed in the 2005 campaign a retiring Labour MP announced his defection to the LibDems. The LibDem leader at the time, Charles Kennedy – who is about to lose his seat in Scotland – called this a pivotal moment in the campaign. It had no effect at all. Can any reader remember the name of the MP? – answer at the bottom of the blog [1].

It was therefore more in curiosity than trepidation that I picked up the Daily Telegraph at the newsagents, before, I hasten to add, returning it to the shelves and buying the Guardian. The critical Labour Minister turned out to be Lord Jones, who as Digby Jones was Director General of the Confederation of British Industry. He served as a Minister of State from 2007 to 2008 in Gordon Brown’s government but was never a member of the Labour Party. The only interesting point is not why he has spoken out, nor what he has to say which is entirely predictable. It is why the Telegraph has put it on the front page. All this serves to underline that this is an election in which nothing is happening.

According to the Telegraph, Lord Jones has toured the country meeting voters in recent weeks. Here I have some sympathy. I have toured North Norfolk meeting voters in recent weeks.   I suspect that we have met with a similar reaction: very few people want to listen to our views.

[1] Brian Sedgemore, retiring MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch

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