Almost there now. The Labour candidate has reportedly gone down with swine flu, and I do hope he gets better soon. I feel ten years younger than I did at the start of the campaign and have enjoyed it enormously.
Two nights ago the BBC Look East programme broadcast a live “Candidates debate” from which I was excluded, and which may have a major effect on the result. The four “Main parties” were included – NuLab, Con, LibDem and Green. The BBC is desperate to shoehorn an outraged public opinion back into support for political parties. They are certainly making it as difficult as possible for independents to campaign.
The BBC also lied to me in that they said that the debate would be between the “main four” parties, but there would be a short “package” on me and on the UKIP candidate, as the other two candidates the BBC was “taking seriously”. That turned out to be a straight lie – they ran a “Package” on the UKIP candidate but not on me. You will recall that Michael Crick from Newsnight said that I had to queue “behind UKIP and the BNP” to be interviewed. Well, I am still waiting.
We had the fun of invading the BBC’s offices and posing with a real dalek, which seemed a fit representative of the BBC’s attitude to democracy. The BBC got very cross.
I have a nasty feeling the turnout could be very low. To say that people are unenthused with politics would be an understatement. With the Conservatives alone having delivered over 20 different leaflets to each house, the public are starting to react against leafletters from any party. As this is our only way to reach people, that is difficult.
But the public meetings we have held have been lively debates with really nice and interesting people. The difficulty is in persuading people that it is worth trying to effect change. To turn electoral despair and disillusion into hope and action is the challenge. I don’t think we have cracked it this time. But it has been an uplifting experience to try.
The other real postive is the change in public mood on the Afghan War. The public on the doorstep appears to be resisting the politicians’ spin that we need to fight it better, and to understand it is a spiral of disaster.