Election '97: THE HURRIED VOTER'S GUIDE

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THE CAMPAIGN

Labour's campaign day began in a TV studio with the promise of a "people's lottery" to channel money into education and health.

Celebrities were on hand to endorse the party's ideas for diverting pounds 1bn from the National Lottery Wednesday draw into health and education.

Tony Blair stayed in the news with the release of the Party Election Broadcast anticipated as "Blair: The Movie", made by the documentary maker Molly Dineen. The film will be shown on television tonight.

The Liberal Democrats marked the anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare by pledging pounds 1.75bn over the next five years for school books. The party's policy would amount to an extra pounds 16,000 a year for a typical primary school and pounds 110,000 a year for a secondary school, they said.

The Conservatives began the day with an attack on Labour's plans for pensioners, saying that measures such as the windfall tax and the removal of tax relief on private health insurance would hurt the old most.

Later, John Major was in Scotland while Brian Mawhinney, the party chairman, made waves in London by leaking a copy of Labour's "war book" - the plan for the election campaign.

Labour said the book was out-of-date and contained nothing damaging to their cause.

KEY ARGUMENTS

John Major warned voters in Aberdeen of the dangers of Scottish devolution under Labour. "Look in my eyes and know this: I will always deal fair and true by this great nation," he told them.

Labour's lottery plans were an admission that their sums did not add up, the Health Secretary, Stephen Dorrell, said. "They are flailing around looking for money to pay for commitments they have been talking about. It is an illustration of Labour's black hole," he said.

David Steel, the Liberal Democrat elder statesman, was asked on ITN's lunchtime news about his attitude to drugs. "Politicians are not in the best position to pontificate on this subject of drugs. It is largely a generational problem," he said.

Peter Mandelson, Labour's campaign manager, introduced their Party Election Broadcast about Tony Blair with the words: "This is not Blair the movie, this is Blair the man." In the film, Mr Blair says that as a boy he had never wanted to be a politician.

"I thought that politicians were complete pains in the backside," Mr Blair said.

"My ambition as a lad was to play football for Newcastle United."

ONE TO REMEMBER

Peter Lilley, the Secretary of State for Social Security, launching an appeal to win the "grey vote", said a Conservative government would "guarantee the basic pension, go on giving more to frail and less well- off pensioners and continue to protect the living standards of pensioners". Other proposals included an insurance scheme to fund residential care for the elderly and the expansion of respite care.

HOGWASH

Michael Forsyth, Secretary of State for Scotland, said in a press conference with John Major: "Independence would be a disaster for Scotland. Labour's dog's breakfast of a proposal and its instability would be the top of a slippery slope which would end in an independent socialist republic and a flight of capital."

THE OTHER PARTIES

The Ulster Unionists suffered a blow when Jim Kilpatrick announced that he was defecting to the Rev Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionist Party. He said he had switched because the UUP had gone soft on the union and was prepared to re-negotiate Northern Ireland's position within the UK.

Meanwhile, the Natural Law Party told the three main party leaders that they would have to subscribe to the party's policies on transcendental meditation and yogic flying if they were to heal rifts on Europe within their ranks. Dr Geoffrey Clements, the party leader, said that Britain's leaders need to listen to "nature's intelligence".

MEDIA STAR

Sean Connery is as well known these days for being the SNP's very own media star as for being an ex-007, having provided voice-overs for several SNP political broadcasts in the past. Yesterday the party announced a plan to send out half a million letters appealing for votes, "signed" by the heart-throb himself. Connery has yet to make a personal appearance on behalf of the party in this campaign, but in the letter he urges voters to join him in voting for them, and fulfilling his "dearest wish" of an independent Scotland.

GOOD DAY BAD DAY

It was Jack Cunningham who organised Labour's campaign in 1992. He was let out of his kennel for the first time during the current campaign yesterday to help launch Labour's plans for the National Lottery.

Mr Cunningham, shadow national heritage secretary, used the morning press conference to announce: "I am very pleased that Tony Blair is here to announce a major initiative to give more of the people's money back to them."

Paddy Ashdown's topic of the day - education - was blown off the agenda when he visited Newbury. Local Liberal Democrat MP David Rendel supports the building of a controversial bypass through four sites of special scientific interest and two historic battlefields, and Mr Ashdown was tailed by protesters who said Mr Rendel's view conflicted with party policy. Mr Ashdown said: "Liberal Democrats have a firm view and we stick to it."

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