Gordon Brown has called the general election. I will avoid tub thumping about the PM prerogative to call it when it suits him. We are where we are and where we are is very interesting. It is a very tight race with the Lib Dems on one of our highest starting gun poll ratings (20%) that I can recall. We tend to climb in the Polls as we get the media attention. We also have the biggest hitter in politics at present in the shape of Vince Cable; the man who got it right on the economy. I am an unashamed member of the Vince Cable for Chancellor Party.
Locally we have a chance that Edinburgh will be Labour free for the first time for more than a century. Bit by bit the old Labour grip has been broken and new politics are seeping in. While West edinburgh will remain a rock solid Lib Dem seat the knife edge marginal seats of South Edinburgh (Lab maj. over Lib Dems of 405) and North and Leith (Lab maj. Over Lib Dems of 2,153) will be very hard fought battles. Fred MacIntosh is so well placed to scoop this seat up having put in years of ground work and it looks like it is going to pay off. Kevin Lang in North and Leith has built up a formidable campaign team and again has put in a lot of ground work. I took the opportunity of going out and helping there myself the other day and I was taken aback by the enthusiasm of the campaign team. I am sure that both Fred and Kevin will do it.
Tim McKay in Edinburgh South West is squaring up to the Chancellor of the Exchequer who has finally remembered that he is an Edinburgh MP (see previous posting). Shame he forgot to answer my letters asking for accelerated investment to be used for Housing. That would have got the building industry moving again which is what we really need at this moment in time. He also did nothing to alleviate Council Housing debt again an items which would have kick started the building Industry. All these lost opportunities…
There is nothing quite like the excitement of political drama unfolding. We are also going to have the first TV debates between the Contenders for PM. Pundits always cite the 1960 presidential election as the great TV election. I wonder if we are not 50 years out of date with IT, Twitter etc. TV is no longer the homogenous medium it was in the past where everyone tuned in to Morecambe and Wise and talked about the same things they had watched the previous night. Kennedy won that election narrowly in terms of the popular vote with some evidence of having stolen Illinois. He actually won the Electoral College by a landslide – 303 to 219 - that is how the system works there. He won the TV debate where Nixon, gaunt with an evening shadow looked less trust worthy. On radio the pundits made it a win for Nixon.
There are 3 debates planned and there will be 3 Party Leaders. The 2004 Presidential debates really put G Bush on the spot with John Kerry performing very strongly. Who will be tricky Dickey this time and who will be the shining intellectual who wins out?