On the campaign trail – Late trains, a missing signature, whisky and beer
ELGIN, Scotland – Britain holds an election on Dec. 12, a political gamble by Prime Minister Boris Johnson who sees it as his best chance to break the deadlock in parliament over Brexit.
The main parties are on the campaign trail, travelling the length and breadth of the UK to drum up support.
Following are some colourful snapshots from the election trail:
THE CASE FOR RAIL INVESTMENT
British finance minister Sajid Javid tore up the country’s spending rules on Thursday, promising to pump billions into upgrading the country’s schools, hospitals, roads and railways.
As it turned out, the case for infrastructure investment was made succinctly even before the chancellor took the stage.
Shortly before the speech was due to start, word went around from a Conservative Party official that the start of the event in the northern English city of Manchester would have to be delayed.
The reason? Problems on the railway had left the travelling press pack from London stranded miles from the venue.
Thirty miles away in Liverpool, a leftwing stronghold for the opposition Labour Party, Margie Tyson had spent the last seven pounds in her purse on a taxi, travelling to meet a man in a music bar near the city limits.
Specifically, she was after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, the party’s talismanic leader who has inspired a devoted following among the socialist wing of the party and was due to appear.
Clad head-to-toe in red, Labour’s colour, she was hoping to seize the opportunity to get Corbyn’s autograph on a 2018 book titled ‘Jeremy Corbyn Annual’ given to her by a close friend.
The colourful hardbound book, available online for 9.99 pounds, contained activities like a ‘Jeremy’s lost the plot’ maze, and a ‘Pin the beard on the Jeremy’ game – all unplayed because Margie said she wanted to keep the pages pristine.
Sadly for her, Corbyn left the venue to depart on his campaign bus from the wrong side of the stage in an thick huddle of well wishers, photographers and security staff.
“It doesn’t matter,” said Tyson, undeterred and smiling. “I’ll get him next time he’s here!”
British political campaigning is changing fast: Facebook ads are replacing leaflets through letterboxes, slick in-house campaign videos have usurped clunky clip of reading-from-a-script-politicians looking awkwardly into the camera.
But some things are slower to change. The first two days of the campaign have reheated some of the classic British photo opportunities.
Jo Swinson, leader of the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats, was pictured on Wednesday holding a baby, and open-mouthed in amazement alongside students in a science class room. Family values: check. Down with the kids: check.
Brexit Party candidate Richard Tice was on Thursday photographed leaning against a pub bar, thumbs up, holding a glass of beer. Man of the people: check.
Johnson ventured into Scotland to campaign and it didn’t take long to get him into a whisky distillery, hold a glass of Scotland’s most famous export. Pro-business and aware of local traditions: check, check.
(Content & Photos Syndicated Via Reuters)
(Additional reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Mike Collett-White)