The General Election 2015 is just a week away and all of the polls are leaning towards a hung parliament, with no one party having an overall majority thus the prospect of another coalition government.
I don't know about you, but apart from the SNP championing an independent Scotland, UKIP's leading message on the control of immigration and then each party with an IN or OUT on Trident, much of the other talk seems to be one big mess swirling around the mixing bowl. Yes there's the obvious cliches and criticisms attributable to the heritage of each party but most debates I've seen (and thankfully they are few) seem to have degenerated into just the normal inter party slanging match. There doesn't seem to be a lot of consideration for others in the exchanges and a distinct lack of etiquette!
Given that the latest polls suggest that up to 40% of the voting public are still undecided, I wondered if I could find any basis related to golf to help those undecided golfers to make a decision. Politicians love a photo call so to check out the main party leaders and their golfing credentials any evidence is bound to be found on the images section of Google. Let's see.
On the tee - David Cameron. No. Nothing. Not a picture, not a paragraph. In fact a distinct lack of anything remotely sporting - and definitely no pics in an Aston Villa shirt (or even West Ham). Wait I spoke too soon - there he is - hitting ...a tennis ball.
On the tee - Ed Milliband. Zip. Suited and booted with or without a bacon sandwich.
On the tee - Nick Clegg. Looks promising! Nick Clegg on a putting green ... in a suit, rolled up sleeves, business shirt and a nice pair of black brogues. 'Would sir kindly like to leave' I can hear the green-keeper asking. Yes it's Nick posing for one more photo opportunity at a charity golf day in his home town of Sheffield. Never misses a trick does Nick!
On the tee - Nicola Sturgeon. Surely the leader of the party from the Home of Golf will have at least one photo on the dramatic links courses that Scotland is famous for - what an opportunity to differentiate herself and gain the votes of all the golfers in Scotland - as if she needs them. No, again nothing - just her teetering along a gymnastic balance beam in a pair of jeans.
On the tee - Nigel Farage. Yes! Golf gear, trolley, buggy, clubs - the evidence is all there! Wait a minute let's watch the video. Oh dear, to be fair not a bad swing, despite that it turns out to be a humorous take on Nigel's support of the European Ryder Cup team in an advert by a well known internet betting site.
So let's forget the leaders and just do a check on how many MPs play golf. Little information is revealed apart from the fact that the last Prime Minister to play golf was Winston Churchill. Now whatever he was like on the course he would certainly rank as one of the all time great Prime Ministers in any public poll (whether or not he actually was). I'm encouraged by this single data point which would confirm my theory that a good golfer would make a great Prime Minister. The Sunday Times once published an article relating to research that they had done on the performance of FTSE companies relative to the handicap of the CEO. They had observed a direct correlation that the performance of the top companies was directly related to golf handicap, with the lowest handicap CEOs running the best performing companies. Sounds great doesn't it? Having a golfer as the CEO of UK PLC is guaranteed to improve the lot of everyone don't you think?
With the expenses and cash for questions scandals I think I'm somewhat relieved that Golf is not the sport of choice amongst MPs, for if it was I fear far too many might also be members of the 'leather wedge' brigade. Can you believe any MP would actually call a penalty on themselves and declare an indiscretion unless openly challenged or exposed in some press publication?
Whilst there seems to be a distinct lack of golfers in British parliamentary circles the Americans appear to be the opposite with a very long list of Presidents being committed golfers (excluding Ronald Reagan). Some perhaps too committed with Barack Obama in particular having a reputation of spending too much time on the golf course - partly because he is known as a very slow player with round times often extending up to six hours!
So if you are undecided and have yet to reach a decision on who will get your vote, at the leadership level anyway, there does not appear to be a 'vote for the golfer' option. Perhaps it would be worth you googling your local candidates and if undecided pick anyone who at least has been to a driving range!
I'll be spending election day far away from the polling station on a golf course, in Turkey. Postal Vote anyone? Don't start me on that one. When the guidance notes to the form say that if you are unsure it will be received in time you can drop it off at your polling station on the day of the election you know some bureaucrat has spent nanoseconds thinking that one through. Hint - I wanted a postal vote because I won't be in the country. Enough.
Enjoy the general election and the endless coverage - with no clear result it's likely to drift on well beyond May 7th.