Politicians and the circus that moves around them seem slow to grasp the new reality of this election – that people will vote in crowds rather than congregate around ideology.
Understanding how these crowds are developing is the business of yougov and the social media pollsters. The bookies are learning to follow the trends detected on social media and are catching up with the new patterns. Betting interest now centres on what form of coalition we will have, the bookies know that this is an election like no other, where the predicted outcome is no overall majority 1/10 on.
Yesterday’s tax lockdown announced by the Conservatives was an admission that without it, no one would trust them. But frankly with it, many won’t work with them.
So desperate is Cameron to be his own man after the election that he will roll the dice and up the political stakes. Have any of his potential partners been consulted over this? I very much doubt it. That’s because the conservatives are in denial about their chances and far from positioning themselves as a party who can work with others, are putting their next five years on auto-pilot.
Have a look at this graph produced by my extraordinary brother Mince.
It shows the bookies catching up with the academic experts in their understanding of what is actually going on.
As you can see- nothing is going on! One of the strangest things about this election is that for all their noise, the major political parties are unable to move the British electorate’s voting intentions.
In this torpid world, the media can do no more than invent interest by focussing on ever more outlandish stunts. Milliband’s cozying up to Russell Brand being a case in point.
We are now obsessing about the number of likes a party’s Facebook page has got relative to another’s. My brother reports his most popular research is around the number of mentions a politician gets on the BBC.
The harsh reality for Milliband is that he is now in Sturgeon’s pocket. If you read this article (written in Scotland), at the start of the campaign, you’d have felt that chill wind from the north.
The harsher reality for Cameron is that if he blows an outright majority for a second time, his party is unlikely to give him a third chance. For Cameron , there is no option but to throw the dice.
So while Cameron and Milliband bluster, the rest of us get on with our jobs and watch incredulous as politics becomes ever more farcical. Desperate Dave has turned from statesman to tub-thumper, the Edds grovel to every social media opportunity going.
Neither realise that after June it will not be about them. After June it will be about the support they can bring to them from Scotland, Wales and Ireland, from the environmentalists, socialists, English nationalists and the 10% of us who still think the Liberals have a job to do.
What is weird is that neither Westminster of Fleet Street can make a lot of difference. This morning the Scottish Sun came out in favour of the SNP, the Southern Sun in favour of the Conservatives, if there were other Suns, they would undoubtedly tell their stories to suit their demographics.
A reactive media is slowly getting it , but the big guns of the Tory and Labour central offices don’t. They simply can’t afford to.
So long as they continue to isolate themselves , they are running away from the reality. Those who really analyse social media and voting intentions like MJ Goodwin tell us that there is only a one in a hundred chance of Milliband getting an overall majority, the chances for Cameron are higher, but nowhere near as high as the bookies think.
With only seven days to go, I very much doubt anything will change. From now on, it is all about getting the Government you want- and for once- everyone will have a say.
For the views of “just an ordinary guy from Essex”, here’s Russell on Ed.