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General election 2019: Politicians risk heckles in rain-soaked campaign

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On the campaign trail: Boris Johnson of the Conservatives, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn and Jo Swinson of the Liberal Democrats
Despite many politicians, political commentators, analysts and journalists including me saying this is one of the most important elections since World War Two, one can't help feeling it just hasn't caught fire yet.
It could be because the weather's been rubbish, because people aren't inspired by the choices, or perhaps because there are still four weeks to go to the 12 December general election. Whatever the reason, this campaign has yet to burst into life.
None of which is to say lots hasn't been happening. Candidates have been knocking on doors, party leaders touring the country and millions of people receiving targeted political ads via Facebook and other social media.
Farage gives Johnson benefit of the doubt
The stand-out moment of the week has to be the decision of Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party and the man who can claim much credit for there ever having been a referendum in 2016, deciding not to run candidates against sitting Conservative MPs.
Nigel Farage's decision not to run candidates in Conservative-held constituencies was the big development of the campaign week
Why[/img]

For Mr Johnson and the Conservatives it is surely an early Christmas present from Mr Farage.Yes, they would have preferred, no doubt, that Mr Farage had announced he was going on holiday until at least 15 December and would not stand any Brexit Party candidates at all. But it does mean the Conservatives are under far less pressure in terms of the seats they already hold, and can therefore concentrate more of their money and effort on trying to win new ones from other parties.
Risks of the road
I mentioned earlier the digital nature of modern campaigning, but political leaders still like to be seen out and about, meeting "ordinary people".This week we were reminded why that is always a risky as well as rewarding undertaking. Just as campaigns always have their gaffes, they also have their heckles. While visiting some of the many people affected by flooding in the North of England, a wellington-booted Boris Johnson waded through water hoping to show sympathy with beleaguered residents. Inevitably, one fed-up lady pushing a wheelbarrow was approached by the prime minister and expressed her unhappiness, all in front of camera- and mobile phone-wielding travelling journalists.
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"I'm not very happy about talking to you... you've not helped us"

A member of the public refuses to speak to Boris Johnson on a visit to a flood-affected part of South Yorkshire

[tap to expand] https://t.co/iqr7npsTFK pic.twitter.com/TizkvKEj5D— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) November 13, 2019
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End of Twitter post by @BBCPolitics
"I'm not very happy about talking to you," she told Mr Johnson. "So if you don't mind I'll just mooch on with what I'm doing because you've not helped us. I don't want you to meet us." Ouch. The leader of the opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, didn't fare much better.
Skip Twitter post 2 by @BBCPolitics
"Do you think the man that's going to be prime minister of this country should be a terrorist sympathiser, Mr Corbyn?"

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is heckled on a visit to Glasgow

Latest: https://t.co/amLNuGMUWQ pic.twitter.com/yt8OmqUOoJ— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) November 13, 2019
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End of Twitter post 2 by @BBCPolitics
On the campaign trail in Scotland he encountered a man, who turned out to be a minister in the Church of Scotland, who heckled him thus: "Do you think the man who's going to be prime minister should be a terrorist sympathiser, Mr Corbyn? Who's going to be the first terrorist invited to the House of Commons when you're prime minister?" So what, you might say. But video snippets of both encounters were very widely shared indeed. Read more on the election campaign:
Election poll tracker: How do the parties compare?
Election translator: Key words explained
More from Rob: Week One: Gloves are off as UK's pivotal election race begins
'It's all about Brexit' in key marginal seat
Are the campaigns having an effect?
The main parties stuck pretty doggedly to their campaign themes: the Conservatives to get Brexit done; Labour to end austerity; Liberal Democrats to stop Brexit; Scottish nationalists to hold another referendum on independence, and so on through the other parties too.
Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon stressed her party's priority was a second referendum on independence for Scotland
Interestingly, despite all this whirl of activity, the opinion polls have barely shifted a fraction. Boris Johnson had an average lead in the opinion polls of 10% at the start of the campaign and now has one of 10.7%!
View from Northern Ireland
I spent the week viewing the campaign on the road in Belfast.
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Those I spoke to were nervous that this sensitive and difficult question was being asked again, but hopeful that somehow Northern Ireland could avoid any return to violence while searching for answers.
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