Well the worst-kept secret after Ricky Martin's sexuality has finally been revealed. The General Election will be held on 06 May after a technically short campaign, which seems to have started at least 6 months ago. Parliament has taken on an end-of-term feel as the best part of 200 MPs pack their things never to return to the commons. In the final few days the Equality Bill will finally receive consent, and with luck much of the daftness such as tinkering with voting, your Internet connection and the tax on cider will fall by the wayside.
At this early point in the campaign my prediction for the result is a tiny, almost unworkable, majority for the Conservatives and a bolstered Lib Dem party. I reckon there will be a couple more independent MPs, the first Green Party MP, and the BNP will come dangerously close to their first seat. The problem for the Conservatives will be that Gordon Brown is Prime Minister until he chooses to resign.
Although it is convention in the UK, unlike other administrations such as the US where the President can lead even as a minority party, to quit if another party polls more seats (although in our system they may get a lot less votes) Mr Brown can still cling-on to power so long as he can convince The Queen he can command a workable majority. The last time we saw this kind of deal was the Lib-Lab pact of 1977 which, whilst not a true coalition, did manage a full year before a further election was called.
So far only the Conservatives have made a major LGBT-related gaffe, with the other parties (as it turns out, wisely for now) completely silent on the issues. David Cameron's speech was much plugged by the party machine. In a break from traditional Tory values of treating everyone as an individual rather than a category, Cameron was to recite a long list of the 'great ignored'. Unfortunately, speaking without notes (we are told by a panicked press officer), he omitted to mention 'gay' in the version he actually delivered. The instant storm of fury from the gaypers and Internet proved what a reactionary campaign we are in for. In a later recital of the same speech 'gay, straight,...' was included in the list; so everyone is part of the 'great ignored' then?! Coming so soon after Chris Grayling's idiotic comments about the right of B&B owners, this was an omission the Conservatives didn't need.
This morning Anastasia Beaumont-Bott, former Chair of LGBTory, announced to the world (or at least the two hundred thousand Independent readers) she was going to vote Labour and felt "guilty for encouraging gay and lesbian people to vote Conservative". The howls of derision, and her indecent haste to switch sides at the first sign of trouble, would indicate her commitment was less than cast-iron in the first place, but we'll keep you posted on how that story develops.
As for the rest of the campaign; Gordon Brown visited Innocent, the smoothie company yesterday. Labour press officers were positively jubilant at the photo-call of him under a sign that read "Tough times don't last, tough people do". Sadly in this digital age the assembled hacks were far more interested in shooting the other angle which placed the PM under the missive "You can't polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter". Meanwhile David Cameron was snapped not wearing a cycle helmet (prompting a nanny-state vs. personal liberty debate of very low grade on the blogosphere), and Nick Clegg's new campaign bus was criticized for seemingly showing him co-leading with Vince Cable.
Another day on the campaign trail. Another round of spin, gaffes and idle-chatter. Roll on polling day. Quickly!
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