We’re well over halfway through the campaign, yet one of the two people who could be prime minister after 7 May hasn’t exactly been criss-crossing the nation taking his case to the British public.
Ed Miliband has visited only 23 constituencies so far, none of which have been in north-east England, the south or south-east England (bar London).
He’s been to only one of his Lib Dem targets: Hornsey & Wood Green. He’s turned up in six safe Labour seats: Coventry South, Doncaster North, West Ham, Manchester Central, Leicester East and Alyn & Deeside. He’s also visited just two Labour seats at risk: Edinburgh East and Edinburgh South.
But he has been to 14 of his party’s Tory-held targets, and of all the main leaders he’s the one who has made the greatest percentage of forays into “enemy” territory. The list so far runs to Sherwood, Morecambe & Lunesdale, Warrington South, Pudsey, Blackpool North & Cleveleys, Bury North, Kingswood, Keighley, Elmet & Rothwell, Colne Valley, Loughborough, Lincoln, City of Chester and Wirral West.
By contrast David Cameron has been all over the place, notching up 34 visits so far.
Almost half have been Tory seats. He’s visited the marginals Oxford West & Abingdon, Sherwood, Newton Abbot, Wolverhampton South West, Plymouth Sutton & Devonport, Dewsbury, Brentford & Isleworth, Kingswood, Loughborough, Stockton South, Harrow East, Swindon South and Warwickshire North. He’s also been to the safe Tory seat of Gravesham plus – of course – his own seat of Witney.
Cameron has been to just three of his party’s Labour targets: Bolton West, Chorley and Exeter. He’s been to far more Lib Dem-held targets, however: Dorset Mid & Poole North, Chippenham, Cornwall North, Devon North, Cheltenham, Solihull, Berwick-upon-Tweed and Brecon & Radnorshire.
The twin emphases of the Tory campaign appear to be shoring up Tory marginals and taking the attack to Lib Dem targets.
Cameron’s been to other Labour seats, but they are mostly pretty safe ones, and these visits have been largely symbolic: Cardiff South & Penarth, Salford & Eccles, Warrington North, Leeds Central, Edinburgh East, Manchester Central and Glasgow Central. He remains the only leader to have been to Northern Ireland, when he dropped in on the Alliance-held seat of Belfast East.
Nick Clegg has been to 24 seats so far, most of which are being defended by Lib Dems. It’s a very pragmatic decision and, by the look of it, he seems to be having a whale of a time, enjoying being free of the coalition and almost behaving as it’s 2010 all over again.
Clegg’s been to 17 Lib Dem seats in all: Solihull, Dorset Mid & Poole North, Eastleigh, Dunbartonshire East, Chippenham, Cornwall North, Cheadle, Cardiff Central, Hazel Grove, Kingston & Surbiton, Bath, Sheffield Hallam, Colchester, Carshalton & Wallington, Bermondsey & Old Southwark, Hornsey & Wood Green and Gordon.
He’s also been to five Tory seats: Oxford West & Abingdon, Montgomeryshire, Watford, Devon Central and Maidstone & the Weald – decisions I continue to think are more for show than substance.
His other two visits have been to Labour seats: Battersea for the manifesto launch, and Stalybridge & Hyde, which was by accident.
Nigel Farage remains the leader to have travelled the least. Of the eight seats he’s visited, half have been in the south-east: Thanet South (where he’s necessarily spending most of his time), Dover, Clacton and Thurrock. He’s also been to Great Grimsby, Boston & Skegness, Cannock Chase and Dudley North. Interestingly he’s yet to drop in on Mark Reckless’ campaign for re-election in Rochester & Strood. Reckless’ photograph was also absent from the Ukip manifesto, suggesting he might be out of favour with his boss.