Column: Down the rabbit hole of manifesto pledges and good receptions on the doosteps

‘Twas the week before the election and not so much as a single leaflet has popped through my letterbox. Not one.

Thursday, 5th December 2019, 1:58 pm

No candidate has chapped my door, and no-one has been bold enough to inquire how I might vote.

By the way, that isn’t an invite to pop round. The kettle is definitely not on.

In all the 33 years I have stayed in Kirkcaldy, I’ve never had a single visit from any candidate in any election.

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I’m secretly jealous of folk who get to be part of the “another great reception on the doorsteps” message tweeted nightly by every candidate since social media was invented.

Have none of them ever had a slightly rubbish, or even frosty reception on the doorsteps?

But, door to door canvassing remains a huge part of every election.

In a marginal seat in the most important general election in a generation or more, getting your message across is simply key.

Kirkcaldy, once a Labour stronghold, is now too close to call.

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The SNP ditching its candidate, Neale Hanvey last week was a game-changing moment … just one which all the parties have yet to fully work out.

The Greens were quick – perhaps too quick – to park their tanks on his lawn, making a clear pitch to SNP voters to back their man on the basis he was the only pro-indy candidate standing.

That was until Mr Hanvey decided to continue, minus his party’s backing.

How much he has been damaged by his removal by the SNP will be a factor.

The SNP leadership has urged local supporters to put their energies into Stephen Gethin’s campaign to survive in north-east Fife, but it’s pretty clear many see backing Mr Hanvey as an independent indy-supporting MP as the route to go.

Worst case scenario?

The indy vote is split, allowing Labour to breathe a little easier – and in such a marginal seat even a shift of a few per cent could be crucial.

But then you factor in Brexit, the health service and the issue of trust in our political leaders –three key issues which could skew the vote.

Who is best placed to deliver, or sort out, Brexit?

Fife voted to remain in the EU, but there is some anecdotal evidence of a shift to the Tories in a few areas simply to get Brexit done – the three words which sum up every speech given by Boris Johnson so far.

Then , factor in Corbyn, a truly Marmite leader – is he a help or a hindrance? – and then consider the trust test which Johnson fails utterly every time he opens his mouth, and this becomes even impossible to call.

And so you spin further down the rabbit hole in search of a party or candidate you feel is best placed to help get us out of this mess.

But, perhaps, it will all come down to who gets its vote out on a cold, pitch dark winter night.

And turnout will be crucial when the votes are counted – the old cliche ‘your vote counts’ holds stronger now than ever before.

Not voting is simply wrong. Not voting damages democracy. Wrap up and do your duty. Pick the candidate and/or party you believe in.

This really is an election like no other.