Has it taken the “fizz” out of the process
Just over six weeks ago the fixed term parliaments’ act finally became law setting the next general election date as May 7th 2015. While it is true that there are a couple of ways that an election could take place before that the current coalition arithmetic means that these look unlikely.
Reflecting on what’s happened since it strikes me that the change is having a profound affect on the whole political process and the way it is reported.
Thus the Liam Fox business and Monday’s EU referendum vote were not covered in terms of their impact on the government’s survival – that’s now taken almost as a given.
One of the great uncertainties from previous times and the subject of much speculation, the election date, has been removed from the media narrative.
The consequence is that people don’t need to think about party battles for the next three and a half years and they won’t do.
Maybe this is behind the big trend in all the polls – the rise of “others”. The Populus poll this month had the total at an 17% – a remarkable share for a phone survey – and other firms have been near that.
Consider also how this year’s autumn conference season went off like a damp squib. Hardly anything newsworthy happened and at two of them the organisers even had trouble filling the auditoriums for the leaders’ speeches. That’s rarely happened in the past.
After the conference season the BBC announced that they would be scaling back their coverage next year and there was hardly a whimper. Those looking for the usual conference polling bounces were disappointed. These simply did not happen.
Let us just be thankful for Boris versus Ken next May and, of course, the 2012 White House race.