It is the next general election, and in the new constituency of Midsomer there is a tight race for the seat. This is a future in which the referendum on the Alternative Vote has been won by the Yes campaign, and the first time voters have had the chance not just to cast one vote each, but to express their preferences.
Early polling in Midsomer, conducted a year before the election, showed the seat to be a broad four-way split, between Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives, and support for the candidate put up by the English Defence League. All four of these groups have traditional supporters in Midsomer, and account for approximately 25% of the votes each.
With twelve months to go until the election, the recently retired Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby throws his hat into the ring as an independent candidate under the banner of a ‘Keep Midsomer Safe’ campaign.
Barnaby has no experience of politics, no traditional supporters, and no campaign team, but he has a plan: he will campaign for second preference votes, knowing as he does that the supporters of the four major political parties in Midsomer would rather murder each other than vote for one another.