Due to a peculiarity of internet statistics I am trying to get this blog to be perceived as a political blog, so rather a political ramble today.
With the general election looming and many pundits suggesting that the internet is going to very influential in this election I have just been having a look at the way Thanet’s political influencers are grappling with the internet.
Like it or not the main Thanet internet forum is blogger something for the most part our MPs and hopeful candidates seem to give a fairly wide berth, fairly unrestricted public internet forums present various problems for politicians.
There are considerable restrictions on what the various candidates in the forthcoming elections can and can’t say in a public forum and still remain candidates, partly because of electoral rules and partly because of the political parties they represent.
One way an astute and politically knowledgeable blogger can exploit this situation is by asking why candidates haven’t commented on something that they know full well they can’t, something that makes for some amusement.
Oddly enough most of the candidates seem to be somewhat aloof of this situation, I believe that they assume the ordinary voter is much more clued up than they really are.
At the moment the general consensus seems to be that here in Thanet the election is a bit of a three horse race, with Roger Gale odds on for Thanet North, and Steve Ladyman and Laura Sandys battling it out in Thanet South.
The two main Thanet Politicaly slanted blogs Thanet Life run by Conservative councillor and From One End of Kent run by Labour councillor Mark Nottingham have had a fair amount to say about national politics lately.
Most of the people I talk to who are likely to vote seem to be most worried about the economic situation after the election, the concerns mostly seem to revolve around what the financial cuts will be and how this will effect them, both in terms of personal allowances and benefits and in terms of how either the business they run or work for will be effected.
The whole thing seems to be much more about who will lose the election than who will win it, with people trying to work out which will be the least bad option for the personally.
I think that the expenses scandal has damaged what trust existed between the electorate and our MPs much more that our MPs seem to realise, in fact trust is very much the key word in this election.
Back before the banking crisis the trust that was being talked about was mostly about Tony Blair taking us to war under false pretences and the trust that was damaged by doing so meant many who would have voted Labour, intended not to for this reason.
I don’t think the economic crisis in itself is seen as being the government’s fault, in fact many have a perception that a Conservative government wouldn’t have handled it any better.
There is also a sense that within a democracy a change of government occasionally is something healthy and that when one party remains in power for too long, they become too comfortable.
Some feel that a hung parliament wouldn’t be such a bad thing, not because they would make a good government but because they would be more likely to implement electoral and parliamentary reforms, something often promised but seldom achieved.
It would however locally seem that as Thanet South is a marginal the few floating voters in that constituency will have a disproportionate effect on who forms the next government.
As far as the two major candidates go both are personable and responsive individuals and I am aware that both do a lot to help local people, regardless of their political affiliations.
Mainly because of this I get a sense that any mud slinging is likely to be counter productive and I suppose that those who are voting by making a choice between Steve and Laura have two things to weigh up.
One is how influential either of them would be in any new government and even this is a bit of a double edged sword as an MP with greater responsibility in parliament is likely both to have less time for their constituents but more influence to achieve things for them.
The other is which is most likely to pursue their concerns and try hardest to resolve their problems.
The other group of floating voters will be making a choice between the national parties or their leaders, trying to cut through the spin, hype and twaddle and work out which will make the best government, or as I have already stated the worst.
I also get the impression that some of the floating voters that vote Labour will be both ashamed of doing so because of the trust that was broken by Tony Blair and scared of voting for change, in case some cut finishes off their livelihood.
Because of this I think it possible that Labour are doing rather better than the polls suggest, as I think quite a few people would be a bit reluctant to say that they intended to do something that they new in their hearts to be based on their shame or fear.
One thing that is of great concern is the way the Conservatives are talking austerity in the one hand and yet our Conservative run county council is behaving, funding silly walks isn’t likely to be perceived as sensible even by the most conservative of the Conservatives.
I may ramble on as the day continues.