SECONDS OUT…ROUND FIFTEEN by Ian Hernon

So here we are, Merry Polling Day …everybody’s having fun. Vote for tomorrow coz its only just begun.

Slade’s iconic No 1 hit may not translate exactly into who will enter No 10, but after six weeks of lacklustre election campaigning, we should remember as we trudge through the sludge to vote that it is the season to be merry.

And much of the campaign has resembled a Christmas TV Special from the Morecombe and Wise or Two Ronnies era.

Asked to explain shortfalls in NHS funding and social care, Boris Johnson did not reply “four candles” – but he might as well have done.

Asked about the future of Nato and antisemitism, Jeremy Corbyn didn’t reply “Don’t tell him, Pike “ – but he might as well have done.

Asked about Brexit, Jo Swinson didn’t say “Don’t mention the war” – but she might as well have done.  

And Nigel Farage didn’t sing I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas – but a lot of his supporters certainly did.

Laugh? We almost started.

Barring a seismic upset – like the volcanic smothering of Pompeii or the meteorite which wiped out the dinosaurs or the break-up of the Spice Girls – Boris Johnson will still be in No 10 tomorrow. “They laughed when I said I wanted to be prime minister,” he allegedly told comedian Bob Monkhouse. “They’re not laughing now.”

An eve-of-poll survey suggested that Boris is on course for a small but workable Commons majority of around 28 – but the margin of error means another hung Parliament cannot be ruled out.

Boris Johnson, while doing a milk round in West Yorkshire for the cameras in the style of Benny Hill’s Christmas 1971 chart-topper Ernie – The Fastest Milkman in the West, said the election campaign “could not be tighter.” Party strategists fear that too many people in key seats won’t be bothered to vote due to disgust at all sides.

Labour is hoping for a late swing in its favour, as happened in the 2017 election, while the Lib Dems are hoping to hold the balance of power if there is indeed another hung parliament.

The SNP appealed to Labour voters in Scotland, calling on them to back their party to “beat the Tories and lock Boris Johnson out of No 10”. Brexit Party Leader Nigel Farage aimed at Leave voters in Labour areas, telling them “not to waste your vote” on Tories. And Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price used the last day of the campaign to publish a draft law which would make lying by politicians a criminal offence.

As a hack I’ve covered every election since 1970 – when I was too young to vote myself – and this one brings to mind the pre-Christmas 1995 chart-topper by the New Zealand group OMC – How Bizarre.

ROUND 15: Tories 5/10

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