On Sunday Politics there was the discussion on whether or not a long political campaign is going to benefit the parties and it got me thinking. This week will bring us within a 100 days of the general election and I, like many others, am still undecided on who to vote for.
Personally I think the number of safe seats is reducing and the number of swing voters is increasing. This means that on the whole the parties need to make their message the strongest and most appealing overall rather than just targeting the specific portion of society that relates to their political stances. The lines have become very blurred over the years with the parties no longer being left wing and right wing but instead centre right and centre left. The main problem being that while some of their policies overlap it is the more extreme policies which we often hear trumpeted.
It is this uncertainty that leads me to be in two frames of mind towards the long campaign. To be perfectly honest it is probably safe to say that most people have a low threshold as to how much politics can be pushed in their faces before they get bored. So that means if a campaign runs for too long you may find people voting on part rather than all of a campaign, you also risk encouraging apathy and leading to low turnout at the polls.
Whereas the other side of the coin, is that by extending the amount of time where a full campaign is being run you have time to actually hear about and learn all the policies that the parties are going to stand for. It also means that rather than being swept away by a month of promises and hyperbole, we get three months of measured delivery offering the chance to question and investigate.
The European Elections last year are probably responsible for this move towards longer campaigns. Since then, all the parties have stepped up their game. It was rather a turn up for the books when UKIP overtook all three main political parties. It has also led to some rather sweeping statements to be made e.g. Labour: "we are going to cap gas prices", The Conservative's: "we promise an EU referendum", and even the Liberal Democrat’s: "we want to invest in the NHS". Yes, these are all lovely promises; however, my question is how are they are going to go about them, where is the money going to come from, and in the case of the EU what are the specific plans relating to each possible outcome.
Hopefully, the long campaign will mean that the voters will have time to ask pertinent questions, have a good overall perspective of the parties’ policies, whilst also not creating an apathetic view leading to low turnout at the Polls.