About 20,000 of our 80,000 DVDs have now been delivered, with startling results. People have started phoning up for posters, and coming out of their homes to shake our hands as we go past.
I have knocked on hundreds of doors personally, possibly thousands, in the last three weeks. I can report that I have detected absolutely no public enthusiasm for the Conservative Party. The media’s presumption that this is a shoo-in for Chloe Smith seems based on nothing. In fact, many more people have told me that they are voting UKIP, than have said they are voting for any other party. The large majority say they will either not vote, or will vote for an independent.
The media’s determination to hype the Greens is even weirder. At its most frenetic, the Green campaign has been invisible verging on lacklustre. They seem to think it will help them to be shrilly rude about me, while Rupert their candidate wears ties and tries to look official.
The BBC is doing everything possible to constrainn debate, and in particular to give no time to arguments against banking bailouts or aganst the Afghan War, and to corral political opinion back into the safe custody of the major political parties. Even though our campaign is the only interesting thing in Norwich, and even the Sunday Express reports today that I am “Head and shoulders above” the other candidates in debate, the BBC is excluding me from their live televised “Candidates’ Hustings” on Monday at 22.15.
They are also excluding UKIP. While I disagree with them fundamentally, they also plainly have a right to be heard. The BBC is trying to define the field of politicial debate and choice.
Guidance from the Electoral Commission clearly states that, where there is a candidates’ hustings from which any candidate is excluded, the candidates who take part must divide the cost of the hustings between them and declare it against their election expenses limit.
A BBC broadcast candidates’ debate, where the candidates’ speak for election and answer questions to voters, plainly is not BBC news and editorial content, but a hustings. That hustings reaches the voters through a broadcast, and the cost of the event is both the cost of organisation and the cost of broadcast to the voters. So the entire cost of the BBC broadcast must be divided between the candidates and declared against their election limit.
I am sure the Tories and Lib Dems at least are already over their election limit (to be disguised by false accounting on the cost of centrally printed leaflets). Each has already delivered a dozen different leaflets per voter, several of them in fake newspaper or magazine format. If the BBC hustings cost is divided between those candidates invited to take part – Con, NuLab, Lib Dem and Grren – they wil be tipped well over the limit.
I regret having to take a legalistic approach, but the BBC’s determination to exclude me from the election has to be countered.
Meantime, just as the momentum is really switching our way, we need both people here to help leaflet and canvass, and we need donations to cover the remaining materials and expenses of the campaign. Please, please come. or if you can’t please give something to help the work of those who are here.