Yesterday, the story of the moment was an allegation that Grant Shapps has been doctoring various Wikipedia pages; those of other Tory MPs he’s not all that find of, i.e. most of them, apparently. Shapps vigorously denies any involvement and says he’s the victim of a smear campaign. But on the story goes.
Mostly because, hey, what the hell else are the political media going to talk about for the next couple of weeks? Labour announced some policies a little while back and even made mugs to commemorate them. One of pledges was a very Yvette Cooper-esque one to get all UKIP-y on immigration, but this caused a few hairs to get put out of place so the mug was promptly pulled from circulation. Labour pledged to cut tuition fees – by a very underwhelming 33%. They talked about getting rid of zero hours contracts, but then it turned out that all they wanted to do was make some regulations any employer with a half-brain could get round. So now they’ve shut up about policy pretty much altogether. Given the Tories are doing most of the heavy lifting for Ed anyhow, spending all of their time either attacking his rivals in Scotland or planting stories in the press about how brilliant, concise and studly he is, why bother?
The Tories meanwhile plan to cut everything to the bone if they get in again, only they don’t want to talk about that. So instead they talk about the SNP non-stop. Or about how brilliant and manly Ed Miliband is again.
What we the great British public have been subjected to as a result is a mostly substance free election campaign. And to make matters worse, we haven’t even seen any really entertaining gaffs. I was all primed for some major Miliband centred cock-ups, and the guy has to go and become a competent media perform and spoil my fun. There have been no Duffy-gate style shenanigans circa 2015. The Shapps wiki stuff will have to do, I guess.
What’s so strange about all this is that this is possibly the most important election for several generations. I know everyone says that every time there’s a general election, but think about it, this time it’s really true. The future of the Union; the future of British involvement in the EU, thus Britain’s relationship with the entire world; the future of the post-war settlement; all of them up for grabs. And yet all we’re hearing about from the political class is how some Tories are fiddling the Internet and how many hot women the leader of the opposition has bedded. It’s scary when you stop and think about it.