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Why election campaigns really mean nothing


From the pointless nature of election campaigns to the Scottish issue, Simon Jenkins lends his thoughts on the General Election

The election campaigns are pointless. The mendacity surrounding policy statements is appalling. All we’re doing is waiting for the day to see what turns up. When I was a student, there was a proposal to see if any party could be persuaded to not run a campaign, to see if it would make any difference. None would take the risk – it’s a democratic ritual and I accept it as such. It’s a game of charades. People rarely swing in the course of a campaign – they form their judgement based on the performance of the parties over the past five years.

One thing is genuinely seismic – it is clear now that Scotland is a separate country politically. It’s over. The Tories haven’t a clue what to say about Scotland – they try to persuade the English they’re pro-Union, but I don’t think the English give a damn. I’ve always felt Scotland would go the way of Ireland, and what’s happening now is a very important moment. David Cameron just never spotted it.

Simon Jenkins is a columnist for The Guardian and The Evening Standard, and former editor of The Times and The Evening Standard 

Check out the rest of Shortlist Magazine's General Election special below

Peter Hitchens

Owen Jones

Will Self

Michael Deacon

Alastair Campbell

Jesse Armstrong

Iain Dale

(Images: Rex)



Cameron's real legacy is a new liberalised Conservative party


Alastair Campbell: "The Sun, Mail and Telegraph have been like comics"


Why Michael Deacon isn't impressed with Labour


The electoral system has begun to crumble


The Conservatives and Labour are effectively zombies


What happens if no one wins the election?



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