The general election campaign is almost with us. I was once told that for candidates, election campaign proper are nothing to do with policy. Leave that to the national leadership. Nor is it about trying to convince people that they should vote for you. If you haven’t done that already, you are too late.
Election campaigns in individual constituencies are purely about getting more people to the polling station and putting their mark against your name than your opponent manages.
It will be a depressing thought for candidates, but the reality is that the campaign in most constituencies is done and dusted. The candidates will busy themselves, firming up the vote. There will be tiffs between individuals, even the odd dirty trick. But the fate of candidates are largely in the hands of their leaders.
This is good news for Nancy Platts. As the election campaign approaches, people will be faced with a choice between Gordon Brown and David Cameron. Cameron continues to come across as a Tory toff, and Eton educated rich boy. Boy George Osborn hardly reassures the voters. His personal performance under close questioning consistently underwhelms, if not terrifies, voters. At least people know what they will get from Brown, and in spite of Tory attacks, they know that he is a decent and competent Prime Minister.
But both Nancy Platts and Charlotte Vere continue to be disadvantaged by the performance and profile of their opponent in Brighton Pavilion, Caroline Lucas, the Leader of the Green Party. Every time Caroline speaks as party leader, she attracts coverage that Nancy and Charlotte can only dream of.
As I said the other day, I have reconsidered the view that I previously expressed that Ms Lucas’ candidature would be adversely impacted by being party leader. I was wrong. Her candidature has been propelled in a fashion that is not possible for the other two.
It is no longer a question as to whether Caroline Lucas will win, the question is by how much?