Less than two weeks to go and with the Tories and Labour in deadlock the closest British election in many years looks a nail biter. While a(nother) coalition government looks the only plausible outcome, an unusually large proportion of voters remain undecided according to pollsters.
I am one. Formerly a member of a political party, I handed in my card some years ago disillusioned with its leadership and direction. I’ll spare you which party. Despite being resident outside the UK for many years I remain eligible to vote and intend to do so. But making a choice is no easier living thousands of miles from the political melee.
Thankfully I am spared the prospect of Nigel Farage messing up my flowerbeds or crude negative advertising polluting my neighbourhood. Yet candidates should surely be looking for every vote they can muster and with an estimated 250,000 full British nationals in the province (not all of whom may be able to vote), the expat vote is not an opportunity to be sneezed at.
However I, for one, have not been approached by any political party. Not have I seen any party attempt to engage British expats here in any form; in contrast to, say, Australia’s Labor party efforts during the 2013 national elections.
OK, so posters in central Hong Kong might be overkill. But surely this is where the internet and social media come into their own. A local search marketing or Facebook ad drive. A video ad on the South China Morning Post website. Someone reaching out on Twitter. All are cheap (relative to TV or poster ads), direct and can be managed at distance.
In what is meant to be the UK’s most digital election to date there’s a deafening silence this side of the world.
So come on British polies, get your tanks on my lawn. I’m listening if you are.