Dead Men Left

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Almost like a scene from Hogarth due to the large numbers of balloons

That was rather fun.

Respect turnout, outside the Safeways on Roman Road, Bethnal Green and Bow: 30 (so we spread ourselves out a bit)
Labour turnout, same place: 3

I started feeling rather sorry for the Labour trio, a group of well-dressed young things who had the unenviable task of persuading extremely bitter Tower Hamlets residents that Oona King and New Labour had done anything much for them over the last eight years. They slipped off after an hour and a half, taking their helium cannister and red balloons with them. I don't doubt, when it comes to polling day, the grumbles and frequent outright hostility they faced this afternoon will turn into a rather grudging vote - but it's clear many won't bother, and for equally large numbers Respect is starting to represent a viable alternative voice.

There's a common belief, out there on the pro-Labour, pro-war side, that George Galloway is wildly unpopular with white working class voters. I don't see it; the unrepentant racists don't like him, there's a few Labour supporters who become extraordinarily agitated by him - but (purely anecdotally, having campaigned for George in the past) for many people he represents an appealing break from the norm - a politician who doesn't talk like a middle-manager. There's nothing wrong with populism if it means you're popular, though becoming both popular and credible is a step again. I think Galloway's getting there, for many reasons, and not just within the obvious so-called "Muslim vote".

Seeing as election fever is rapidly reaching epidemic levels, here are some sites for the amateur psephologist:

Strategic Voter 2005: recommendations for tactical and "strategic" anti-war voting in 2005

So Now Who Do We Vote For?: spinning off from the John Harris book of the same name, a site for disgruntled soon-to-be ex-Labour voters.

Military Families Against the War: Reg Keys, father of a military policeman killed in Iraq, will be standing against Blair. (Interview here.)

Backing Blair: they're not.

Political betting: brutishly debasing the high arts of Politics for sordid pecuniary gain

...and, as if the last eight years never happened, Tactical Voter: will provide clear and concise information on how to use your vote tactically. Our aim is not just to stop the Tories making a come back in 2005 but to defeat even more of them, including top names in the Shadow Cabinet.

We believe that Britain has suffered enough at the hand of the Tories and it is time for a more progressive political debate.

Things Can Only Get Better.