It’s beginning to feel like Groundhog Day: every morning the meeja are summoned to some inane photo opportunity in some poor unsuspecting town; the respective machines reel off constant announcements and statements (go visit the Steamie to see how relentless they are); news programmes dutifully report the day’s headlines and if they’re really lucky, a gaffe. And then everyone goes leafleting, canvassing, to hustings and meetings and then they do it all again the next day. Yep, so far, so dull.
From Better Nation.
It isn't just Wales then who is having a flat campaign. To a Welsh politico this is unbelievable; imagine the excitement in Wales if we had a media focusing relentlessly on Welsh issues, a nationalist party on the cusp of a majority for an independence referendum, the polls altering dramatically over the last few months and Labour looking for a game changer to pull victory out of the jaws of defeat?
But I actually think all campaigns have become flat. Perhaps this is because campaigns have almost become too professional, too '100% success' too Starbucks in their goals. Parties I believe embrace the Cannibalization strategy.
This leads to often similar policy platforms (if you cannot beat them join them) to voters but also when a genuinely different idea breaks through it is browbeaten by crass attacks from others. I will put my money on the fact that the new Welsh Government will adopt a version of Plaid's Build for Wales idea, with or without Plaid in Government. Yet this was attacked by the other parties.
It also leads to very professional campaigns, despite the rise in social media, that cannot tolerate anything but perfect coverage. Anything as normal as meeting the odd shouty, sweary bloke who hates all politicians for reasons only known to himself is seen in politics land as a 'gaffe' or a 'crisis'.
Anything as normal as bumping into non-plussed voters, or voters hostile to your party is seen as a mistake and an image problem. You might think me naive, but in the long run the best way to promote your party is to present things sometimes as they are. That is not some naive kamakazi call for things to go to pot, but I do think that we will never get game changing campaigns if all parties seek to stick ten men behind the ball, rather than try and score some goals.
And given it was Plaid who needed to make this a far more explosive campaign, perhaps there is a lesson in there. I do accept and understand however that a good deal of people are now somehow accustomed to the 'professionalisation' of political presentation - the actor politician/party.
While I would not expect sympathy, the more the public understand what political campaign and elections are about (and let's be honest - someone has to win the election and run the Government - which I do wonder whether those refusenik seem unwilling to care about), the more we might be able to score hits and roll with the punches.