November 22, 2019 / 3:52 PM / 21 days ago

ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL-Nigel Farage signs contract with voters

LONDON, Nov 22 (Reuters) - 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 parties are on the campaign trail, travelling the length and breadth of the United Kingdom to drum up support.

Following are some colourful snapshots from the election trail:

SIGNED, SEALED... DELIVERED?

When is a manifesto not a manifesto? Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage says it is when it’s a ‘contract with the people’.

On Friday, Farage eschewed the election campaign tradition of a manifesto launch, a glitzy media event to promote a book of policies the party wants to implement if it wins power.

Instead, he invited a roomful of journalists, left a small book of his party’s policies on each seat and made a grand entrance to a thumping soundtrack (‘Power’ by Kanye West).

“This is not a manifesto, because a word association test for manifesto gave us the word ‘lies’,” he said from the stage. “It is a contract with the people.”

He then signed an oversized mock-up copy of the document.

TRAIN IN VAIN

Campaign managers plan every detail of their leaders’ diary, considering how each aspect of the day will be perceived by voters when photographed and played out on television screens.

Earlier this year Johnson was unceremoniously stripped of his coffee by an aide who spotted it was in an environmentally unfriendly single-use cup. In 2015 then-Labour leader Ed Miliband’s image suffered because of an unflattering photo of him eating a bacon sandwich.

So, when leaders have taken to Britain’s trains to carry out campaign visits, their choice of seat has been the subject of much media scrutiny.

Jeremy Corbyn, the socialist leader of the Labour Party who rails against the wealthy elite, has travelled in standard class. Johnson, educated at the elite Eton school and head of the pro-free market Conservative Party, has sat in first class.

But a survey carried out by YouGov this week suggests their efforts may have been in vain.

While 36 percent of voters thought a first class seat was appropriate compared to 13 percent who thought standard class was best, by far the strongest view was ‘doesn’t matter’, preferred by 45 percent of respondents.

ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS

Britain usually hold elections in late spring. The first December election in almost 100 years has prompted complaints from some involved, who say it is no fun campaigning in the dark and cold instead of getting ready for Christmas.

But, fear not. The political parties are doing their best to bring some festive cheer to the campaign.

The Liberal Democrats wrapped up copies of their manifesto like Christmas presents for reporters on Wednesday, while one Labour activist turned up to his party’s manifesto launch on Thursday wearing a badge that mocked up bearded party leader Corbyn as Santa Claus.

“All I want for Christmas is a Labour government!” read the slogan.

Reporting by William James and Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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