No candidates have come calling here…

I SAW a note on a door the other day asking for no election candidates to visit. We don’t have such an advertisement on our door but we might as well have.

With four days to go, there has not been a single canvasser at our door on the west side of the York Central constituency. We have had flyers and leaflets from Rachael Maskell, Labour candidate and MP since 2015, one leaflet from Liberal Democrat Nick Love and on Saturday a glossy fold-out affair arrived from the Tory candidate, Ed Young.

The last leaflet came in the post and was addressed to our daughter, who is in Australia for the year. I think Ed may be wasting his time as she follows this family’s left-wing tendencies. Her mother has been deputised to vote on her behalf through a complicated arrangement.

Oh, and we had that ‘personal’ family letter from Theresa May in which she repeatedly claimed that letting Jeremy Corbyn win in York Central would bring about the end of the world as we know it and so on.

This lack of callers seems strange. Are they all too busy to drop by or are we too far away all the way out near the ring-road?

Rachael Maskell’s leaflets list what she has done as a local MP and, in the latest, makes five promises to York on NHS cuts and privatisation, affordable homes, protecting the environment, a £10-an-hour minimum wage, and a strong relationship with the EU.

Ed Young’s leaflet is a curious affair. On the plus side, he tells us that he grew up in York and his family still live here. He is genuinely local, and that is not always the case, with candidates often being imposed from outside the city, as indeed happened with Rachael Maskell.

The curious part comes with the fact that Theresa May has mugged his leaflet. There are four pictures of the Tory leader – just in case we’ve forgotten what she looks like – and Ed says that he is “standing with Theresa May”. One page in the leaflet is given over entirely to Mrs Maybe, with a large picture of her at that Downing Street lectern and the words “Theresa May: Strong, stable leadership in the national interest.”

And again: “Strong, stable leadership in the national interest” or “A coalition of chaos with Jeremy Corbyn.” Another fold in the leaflet features a letter from “Rt. Hon Theresa May, Prime Minister”.

All this did bring about an unaccustomed outbreak of sympathy for the Tory candidate, who is much less prominent in his leaflet than Mrs Maybe. Are all Tories leaflets like this – making sure the political dominatrix holds the whip, as it were?

Something about that letter headed “Rt. Hon Theresa May, Prime Minister” bothers me, in that Theresa May seems to be making greater capital than is usual of being prime minister during the run-up to an election.

Yesterday electioneering was suspended, with the Conservatives being first to declare a fitting day’s silence following the latest terrorist atrocity. Then later in the day, Theresa May dragged out that lectern again – her version of John Major’s soapbox – and made a statement in Downing Street about how we show too much tolerance towards Islamic extremism.

Now I understand that delivering such lectures to the nation is part of the job description. But is it also electioneering in a subliminal way? Anyone who is undecided may well think: “Theresa May must know what she’s doing as she’s the prime minister, so I may as well vote for her.”

Maybe this is unavoidable, as a day’s silence from the Prime Minister after the horrors of the London Bridge incident would have seemed strange. By tradition, MPs are no longer MPs in the run-up to an election, while prime ministers keep their title, and Mrs Maybe is certainly flaunting hers.

Incidentally, I have not mentioned Nick Love’s Lib-Dem leaflet, possibly because I cannot find it. I have met Nick once or twice and spoken to him on the phone in my old job, and he seems a decent man.

Looking online, I can tell you that Nick wants to “put York first” and that he has lived in the city for 32 years, after first coming here as a student. What he says seems sensible, if on the hopeful side.

So those are York Central’s three candidates – not one of whom has rung our bell.

 

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