COMMENT: Is this our dullest ever race to Number 10?

By Toby Neal | Opinions | Published:

In a shocking scene which sums up the general election campaign so far, Jeremy Corbyn addressed the CBI. And they listened politely.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn speaking at the CBI annual conference at the InterContinental Hotel in London

Perhaps they were half asleep, or busy texting on their phones.

What next? Boris Johnson being applauded on the platform of the TUC?

This is not some new age of political tolerance. It is a new age of political somnolence.

So far it's been the dullest general election campaign in living memory, and that is despite the best efforts of Jennifer Arcuri to liven things up by saying that when she phoned Boris, he passed her call to an aide who mocked her by speaking with a Chinese accent.

As she's American, I don't get it either. Maybe the aide actually was Chinese.

As party leaders, Boris and Jezza are the Unlikely Lads, which makes them strangely bullet proof. Boris has had a complex love life. Yea, voters know. In the Commons and outside of the Commons, he has been called every name under the sun. Crook, liar, fraudster, racist. All the ammunition has been expended, to limited effect.

Portray Jeremy Corbyn as a raving red, and it's water off a duck's back. It's all factored in by the public.


This is a general election being played out against a backdrop of an electorate heartily fed up with politicians and politics. We've had our fill already.

After all the tiresome stop-at-nothing antics we have seen in the House of Commons in recent months, the cut and thrust of election campaigning is positively sedate by comparison.

Last night the leaders went head to head in one of those broadcast debates which broadcasters love. I haven't seen it because at the time of writing it hasn't happened yet. And you haven't seen it because you couldn't face watching it. (I'm guessing, of course.)

The SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford was outraged and disgusted that the SNP was excluded from the debate. That is not news. He's outraged and disgusted by everything. Even if he had been included, he'd probably find a reason to pull some walk-out stunt.


But we must wake up. The future of the country is at stake. And there have been some significant policy pronouncements.

The Tories have put cuts in corporation tax on hold, and when it comes to immigration, it will either come down, go up, or stay the same.

Meanwhile Jezza has declared: "It is sometimes claimed that I am anti-business. Actually, this is nonsense."

While he's playing Mr Business Nice Guy, Shadow chancellor John McDonnell wants to bash Britain's billionaires – there are about 150 of them, but I suspect not all are British – although it seems he may have to close the airports to ensure they stick around for their punishment.

The Green Party says it would invest £100 billion a year to tackle climate change. Salient fact – around 45 per cent of worldwide coal production is in China, which produces not that much short of 100 times as much coal as the UK. Admittedly, other harmful emissions are available.

Prince Andrew may have thought his little interview would not have attracted much attention during a general election campaign. How wrong he was.

Black Friday's coming up, then we can knuckle down to the Christmas shopping.

Politics? The stock is low, and there are few eager buyers at the moment.

Toby Neal

By Toby Neal
Feature Writer

A journalist in Shropshire for 40 years, mainly writes features and columns, especially about aspects of Shropshire history. Lives in Telford and is based at the Ketley headquarters.


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