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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 May, 2005, 16:04 GMT 17:04 UK
Have you seen your candidate?
Polling Station Worker
As the campaign reaches its climax, the parties are concentrating on a handful of key marginal seats.

Labour are focusing on defending seats won with narrow margins in 2001. The Conservatives came second in most of these areas.

The Tories are defending many of their marginal seats from the Liberal Democrats, who themselves are targeting top Tories in a "decapitation" strategy.

Meanwhile hundreds of safe seats for all three parties across the country have seen little political campaigning.

What have politicians in your area done to get your vote? Have you been bombarded with leaflets? Or do you feel left out? Have you seen your candidates?

This debate is now closed for polling day. Thank you for your comments.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

In this safe Labour seat you would hardly know there was an election happening at all
Andrew, Sheffield
In this safe Labour seat you would hardly know there was an election happening at all, nobody even has window posters apart from the odd Green. It will be fun if all those who habitually vote Labour without thinking about it forget the election is happening and don't turn out, then we'll actually have a competition!
Andrew, Sheffield

Apart from having the leaders together on a Question Time special, wouldn't it be a good idea if in the closing week of an election, every constituency had a head-to-head debate that the electorate could attend? It would be very useful.
Nick Payne, Alcester, UK

I have received leaflets from at least six different parties and had visits from the Green party and my local Labour MP. I was impressed he was out knocking on doors on a Sunday morning, but he's still not getting my vote. Greens have a real chance of getting in here and have been working hard to get their policies across. Not much from the Lib Dems and Conservatives though.
Jo, Brighton

I live in one of the most marginal seats in the UK and have seen none of the candidates standing in my constituency. There has been barely any literature either. I haven't decided how I intend to vote yet and really could have been influenced by some contact with one of the candidates.
Cindy Chaplin, Coggeshall, Essex

I never expected to actually see my MP in person
Adam, London
I never expected to actually see my MP in person during the campaign, but now that we are well into the internet age I do find it a bit disappointing that her website hasn't been updated since early March.
Adam, London

I live in a marginal seat so lots of leaflets through the door. Labour knocked on the door and after that I put a sign up asking canvassers to leave us alone. Meeting the candidates would make no difference to my vote.
Rachel, Cardiff, Wales

I've met my local Labour candidate plus other Labour MPs in the area. I also brought my children along to see them. They were great in listening to me and my children's comments.
Elle, Clacton-on-sea

This is the fourth election where we live. In that time we've never seen a candidate here. If I was about to change my mind it would certainly take more than a poster or leaflet.
Mark, Locks Heath

I'm in a safe Labour seat and haven't seen anything from Labour
Juliet Kavanagh, London, UK
I'm in a safe Labour seat and haven't seen anything from Labour, although I know that the Labour candidate has been out and about. However, I have to give points to the Liberal Democrats for effort - I've had, so far, six different leaflets from them!
Juliet Kavanagh, London, UK

Unfortunately, living in a constituency with a large Labour majority, it appears that the election has bypassed me. Apart from three election leaflets for the Conservative, Labour and BNP candidates, we have heard and seen nothing. Nothing at all has been received from Lib Dem candidate. I assume all parties have decided it's a non-event here and are merely going through the motions. One wouldn't actually realise there was a general election taking place. Roll on proportional representation. I feel totally disenfranchised.
Jim Chadwick, Manchester

We haven't seen our sitting MP since he was elected let alone since the election was called.
John, Birmingham

The Labour candidate come round a full two weeks before the election was even announced. He asked if he could count on my vote, to which I replied no. Fully expecting him to ask why, he did not. If he could not ask me to explain myself why should he be my elected representative? I have since received six separate mailings from his office asking me to vote Labour.
Stuart, Braintree, Essex

Leaflets have come through the door from every candidate
Michael, Pontypridd, Wales
Leaflets have come through the door from every candidate. One candidate was out in a speaker car; don't know which as they were too far away to hear what was being said. That's it, no knocking on doors or loitering in town centre that I've seen! And then I hear about voter apathy!
Michael, Pontypridd, Wales

I'm amazed at all these people complaining the candidate hasn't visited them personally -- there are about 70,000 voters in each seats and four weeks of the election. Take out the hours a candidate is sleeping or doing their day job and the physics is in the same league as Santa getting all his presents delivered on Christmas Eve!
Jen, Manchester, UK

I am a candidate - an independent standing in a marginal seat. I have made the effort by driving around the area with a megaphone - just like old times. I don't have the vast funds that the main parties have showered upon them by benefactors, but I do know what my constituency feels: anger. I don't have the resources to knock on everyone's door.
Martin Levin, Essex

I love the constant use of the phrase "they can't be bothered" to describe why politicians haven't visited. If you believe for one moment that your prospective parliamentary candidates are sitting around twiddling their thumbs, then you've not really made an effort to involve yourself in the democratic process.
Matt, Cambridge

In this safe Labour seat I have seen only the Tory candidate, so credit to him. Less credit for having canvassers who hadn't got the faintest idea what they were talking about, argued with each other and gave out local "facts" which were wild exaggerations.
Brian, Notts

After the most lack-lustre campaign since the war I have taken my money into all three shops but have not found anything to buy. Perhaps it might save a lot of bother next time if the Queen simply tossed a coin.
W S Becket, Llanberis, N. Wales

I have had leaflets from UKIP and the Lib Dems. As I don't want Labour to gain power again without an effective opposition, and because the Tories under Howard are a disaster, I am voting Lib Dem. At least they sent me a leaflet.
Rod Hopkins, Porthcawl, Wales

Yes, I have met almost all the candidates because they came to my workplace to hold a hustings meeting. Were it not for that I would not have seen any of them because they are not knocking on doors in my street. Yes, plenty of leaflets have been delivered, but the Labour party's one was late and was put through my letterbox between 8 and 9pm last night.
John B, Milton Keynes

The huge focus by the parties and media on marginal seats and the total shunning of the vast majority of the rest of the population living in non-marginals just shows how undemocratic the First Past the Post system is. The UK needs Proportional Representation, like nearly every other civilised nation now. Mr Blair promised a referendum on it in 1997. What happened? Nothing.
Andrew Clements, London

One thing is for sure, I bet they don't pop round to see if I am OK next week
James Murphy, Dorset
One thing is for sure, I bet they don't pop round to see if I am OK next week! By then, my tax money will interest them more.
James Murphy, Dorset

I have had regular visits from the Conservative candidate and five or six leaflets from him. The other parties just have not bothered! I know who I'm voting for.
Wayne Bridges, London

I know the Lib Dem has been round as he left a note through the door that he was sorry to have missed me. I think Labour and the BNP have also been round but again, I was out. I'm still undecided but will probably vote Lib Dem.
Ruth, Dorset

As a 22-year-old graduate, I thought I'd be a prime target as a floating voter, but not a thing. In fact I've been passed in the street by canvassers. It's only the media that have filled me in on this election. It's a disgrace.
Sian Watts, South Wales

As an ethnic minority I am disappointed that no party has taken us seriously. Alas, we are after all a minority and as such will not influence the bigger scheme of things.
Derek Cardiff, Wales

I'm a student but I'll be voting here at university rather than at home. I'd love a chance to speak to one of the candidates but no one's been round or phoned us. I imagine it's because they feel that all the students will go home to vote and so we're not worth bothering with. It also seems to be impossible to find out where they're going to be. If I knew where they were I'd go and look for them!
Matt, Loughborough, UK

The only candidate I have seen is Guy Fawkes of the Dungeons Death and Taxes party, who was riding around in a horse-drawn carriage in the pouring rain this lunchtime, handing out leaflets and announcing their policies. Perhaps not the most likely next MP for the City of York. Apart from that we've had three leaflets through the door, not including one from the Conservatives, and that's it.
Emily Smyth, York

I saw two men wearing blue rosettes standing in the street four days ago
John, Newport, South Wales
I saw two men wearing blue rosettes standing in the street four days ago. One looked a bit like the picture on the election leaflets so maybe he's the candidate. No-one else has bothered to show themselves. My 19 year old daughter is quite annoyed that politicians say people of her age aren't interested when none of our constituency candidates can be bothered.
John, Newport, South Wales

The only thing I have seen is a flyer through the post, so I cannot vote for someone I know nothing about.
James, Cornwall

I accept that candidates cannot visit every doorstep. However, the only meetings they seem to address are for invited party loyalists. I would have made time to go and hear them speak but I received no notification of any hustings.
Richard Philips, Richmond

I've met the Labour candidate and current MP. Fair play to him for coming around, especially as I will be voting Tory.
Mark Q, Hastings, UK

The Conservative, Labour and Liberal candidates have not visited me, though I had a letter from the Conservative candidate for the area.
Ann Greenwood, Brighouse, West Yorkshire

I live in Newham and have had one leaflet - Conservative. I have e-mailed Labour, Lib Dem and Conservatives to ask certain questions and I've had one reply - Conservative. I'll be voting for you Tim Archer.
Maureen B, London

No visits from candidates yet, but 3 mail drops (Labour, Lib Dem' and UKIP), and 2 phone calls. One from Labour (who had left a message then called me back), and one from the Tories, who promised to call back but didn't. At least Labour made the effort; and this is a safe seat for them. I know which way I'm voting.
C S, London

Although this is a highly marginal seat, Labour majority 390, we have seen no one!
M Husbands, Monmouth

This is a Labour seat, but they haven't bothered to knock on the door
Ian, London, UK
This is a Labour seat, but they haven't bothered to knock on the door. The first I heard from them was the other day when they put a leaflet through the letterbox asking me to vote for them and display a poster. Either they are taking us for granted or they've given up. Only the Tory and the Green candidates have bothered to stop and talk, so I'll vote for one of them, but I'm not saying which!
Ian, London, UK

Being in the Shipley marginal seat, Tony Blair himself has visited the constituency twice. Both times the general public were kept at arms length, so I cannot see how he could persuade anyone here to vote for him.
Ian, Basildon

Strange how Rudi Vis (Current Labour MP for Finchley & Golders Green) ignores all letters and emails for years, yet suddenly I'm treated to endless complimentary leaflets and letters. To what do I owe this kindness? One would think he wants something.
Gil Eliav, Leeds, UK

Lots stuff from the Lib Dems has landed on our doormat, and one response from the Conservatives, nothing from the rest. The Lib Dem stuff misrepresented the true situation and one leaflet even purported to be 'church news' - highly misleading. The Conservative response was well thought out and well presented. I was impressed. I know who I'm voting for.
Brian, Waverley, Surrey

I've seen the Labour MP. I have seen the Tory, spoke to his brother, giving leaflets, but he didn't want to talk politics! I'm voting Labour.
Anon, Northfleet

Why don't you get out there and get involved?
Steve, Maryland, USA
What a bunch of whingers! "No ones bothered to come to my door." Why don't you get out there and get involved? And the moans about it going on for a month? Here in the US it's a year. In Maryland people were in line for an hour to vote (even though it's a strong Democrat area) just to make the point that they voted, in other areas voters were in line for hours. I am surprised that some of the comments don't ask for the ballot paper to be bought to their house for them to vote.
Steve, Maryland, USA

It is a sad reflection on our election system that the votes of so many of us are irrelevant to the outcome of the election. No wonder so many people say they are not going to bother going out to vote.
Tim Watkins, Cardiff, Wales

We have had the usual selection of leaflets, but no visits or phone calls. Mind you as there are only ten other houses within a quarter mile of ours, I am not really surprised. I do actually know my current MP as he drinks in our local pub (probably quite unusual for an MP), but thankfully he never mentions politics!
Stephen, North Wales

I don't feel left out, just very disappointed that my constituency is a "no work required" job for the sitting Tory, who would still get elected if he was dead! The opposition could campaign 48 hours a day but it wouldn't crack the Tory veneer of this area, which is sadly due to the unimaginative and selfish attitudes of the hoards of wealthy retired folk who look no further than preserving their money.
Ruth A, Ferring by Sea, West Sussex

Candidates shouldn't be so lazy
Keith, Essex
Quite simply, if they don't knock on my door and convince me to vote for them then they I'll ignore them. Candidates shouldn't be so lazy. So far only the Conservatives have bothered talking to me so it looks to be a simple vote.
Keith, Essex

Yes, I met the local Conservative candidate - and I was surprised that it changed my mind. He's OK.
James, Essex

So far, only the Labour candidate has taken the trouble to knock on doors on our estate. Surprising really, seeing as he doesn't have a chance here - you'd expect the other two main candidates to be chasing every vote.
Julie, Surrey

We've had no one canvassing or any leaflets through the door so I am assuming it's because South Cambridgeshire has been a Tory seat for a ridiculous number of years and the other parties do not see an opportunity to get in. Even so, I would like a Tory canvasser to come round just so I can argue with them though!
Cat, Cambridge

One leaflet from the Tories - nothing from anyone else. Looks like I'll just be ticking another box. Shame though - I would have loved to tell the Labour candidate what I thought of my tax bill spiralling out of control without being able to afford to buy the house I rent.
Pauline Yates, Suffolk

I have met them all at local hustings
Adrian Cannon, Edinburgh, Scotland
None have come to my door but I have met them all at local hustings which seem to be a rarity these days. Maybe they should be made compulsory and then the turnout might go up, as more people will be able to meet the candidates.
Adrian Cannon, Edinburgh, Scotland

The only candidate who has shown any interest is Labour, who has twice sent information to my home and offered to meet to discuss election issues. The other party candidates spend their time writing to the local press, but actually contribute little to the community. I am especially disappointed with the SNP as they were for a time heirs apparent to the Scottish political hierarchy.
Jock Welsh, Scotland

I have seen the Labour PPC on a number of occasions. No other party has bothered, except the Greens, who made a half-hearted effort to send leaflets to my block of flats.
Shaun Parker, London

During this campaign we have received a sprinkling of leaflets from a number of parties. Not one has telephoned or knocked on our door. Sitting in a safe seat, I guess they don't feel it worthwhile.
Clive, Woking

I've seen our Conservative candidate on numerous occasions, the last time this weekend in town, talking to anyone who wanted to speak. The other parties, although bedecked in balloons and bunting, couldn't provide me with a single candidate to talk to.
Paul, UK

I'll vote for anyone who bothers to take the time to knock at my door
Jane, Egham, England
No sign of general election candidates here - just a pile of leaflets delivered one day last week and the odd targeted letter from the Tories. Weeks ago I had made my decision, but now I'll vote for anyone who bothers to take the time to knock at my door and persuade me that my vote is worth using. At least the local election candidates could be bothered to visit me.
Jane, Egham, England

Yes, and his campaigners visited our area on Monday. So far the Labour and Lib Dems have not bothered to visit or send us information. I guess we, as a traditionally Conservative and rural constituency, are not marginal enough to count in their book?
Andy D, Oxford

We have seen the candidates come around the house and hand out leaflets. Funny how we have seen nothing of them for the last four years though.
Dave Morris, Berkshire

We saw our current MP the day the election was announced when he knocked on our front door. Since then nothing, other than hundreds of copies of uninformative party propaganda through the letter box. Oh, and a phone call from a local Conservative party representative informing us that we should vote for their candidate because he is, and I quote: "a jolly decent chap."
Chris Turner, Berkshire

Labour know this is a safe seat for them so really can't be bothered to show up
Sam, London
Not a peep from anyone. Labour know this is a safe seat for them so really can't be bothered to show up. Makes my vote irrelevant in the contest although I will be voting so I can look people in the eye and say that I didn't help to re-elect Blair.
Sam, London

You would hardly know there is an election on around here. In this safe Labour seat I have received a minimal number of leaflets, but there are no posters on the lampposts, let alone live canvassers.
Liz, Glasgow, Scotland

I live in the only Conservative held seat in Northamptonshire, and they have such a large majority that I feel disenfranchised from the voting process. There is almost no chance of my vote having any effect. The only canvassers that turn up on our doorstep do so during the day when I am at work.
Craig Bayley, Daventry, Northamptonshire

I've seen neither hide nor hair of any of our candidates, which is odd considering it's a major target for the Liberal Democrats to take from the Conservatives.
Dean, Maidenhead, UK

I feel that a visit from a candidate could make all the difference
Graeme, UK
As an undecided voter who intends to vote, I feel that a visit from a candidate could make all the difference. Unfortunately, I have seen none of them. Literature has been posted through the door for all candidates but most of these say very little about the person I am voting for. I think an MP's personality is important, especially in terms of how they will stand up for their constituency.
Graeme, UK

Leaflets, leaflets and yet more leaflets... only the Lib Dem candidate bothered to visit. So I will vote for them.
Paul, Somerset

My seat is about number nine on the Labour target list, with Lib Dems some way back in the 2001 election. Other than a few leaflets pushed through the door, I have neither seen nor heard anything from any candidate or their representatives. I don't think it would make any difference though. I am sure that none of them would have anything to say that would sway my vote. Instead I read peoples' inputs onto the "Have your say" section of the Election 2005 BBC. I find this far more convincing a source of political influence.
N Rhodes, Leicestershire

No sign of any candidates in my constituency Glasgow North. The seat is notionally a Labour one with a whopping majority so my vote really doesn't count.
Neil, Glasgow North

The only reason I know who it is is because they keep sticking leaflets through my door. The Labour candidate has produced a lovely leaflet criticising the other parties but has not outlined what their policies are. At the end of the day, I will vote for whoever has the best policies not for those who have concerns about parties arriving in the back door.
Tom, Cardiff, Wales

I've seen no end of advertising billboards, but not one activist. I obviously live in a safe street
SD, UK
I'm a resident of Warwick and Leamington (20-something on the Tory wish-list). I've seen no end of advertising billboards, but not one activist. I obviously live in a "safe street".
SD, UK

Not one leaflet, visit from a political party, or poster on a lamp post. My sons' school will be used as a polling station and there are not even posters here.
Steve Wilson, Livingston, Scotland

As someone who is a bit involved in elections, I would just like to ask contributors to bear in mind that each constituency has at least 30,000 doorsteps so for a candidate to get onto every one and spend five minutes would take over eight hours a day, five days a week for a year, or 25 hours a day to spend one minute on each during an election campaign. The vast majority of this work is done for nothing by volunteers with jobs and family commitments. This isn't a complaint - just a fact which needs to be taken into account before anyone says 'so and so cant even be bothered to ask for my vote'
Alun, Bradford

None, nada, not one! Obviously not one politician cares about my vote in Borough!
Ian, London

I live in a marginal seat and have met all the main party candidates. The Labour woman was nice, the Lib Dem challenger seemed very rude and pushy, but the Tory was quite pleasant. The BNP had more sense than to come to my door and UKIP are a joke. I haven't met either of them.
Steve, Birmingham, UK





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