Election Diary

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Indy Politics

Good day

Good day

William Hague, who believes election has a "totally different feel" to 2001. "It's a weight off my shoulders to be honest," said the man whose election slogan "Seven days to save the pound" is still an example of how not to do it. "I'm very glad it's Michael Howard who is running and not me."

Bad day

Most of the Cabinet, who sat like lemons behind Labour's magnificent seven of Charles Clarke, Ruth Kelly, John Prescott, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Patricia Hewitt and John Reid at Labour's interminable manifesto launch.

Gaffe of the day (part one)

Charles Clarke, whose mobile telephone went off as Tony Blair was answering a question with sombre prime ministerial gravitas. "Sorry Prime Minister, It's just a call" the embarrassed Home Secretary mumbled as he struggled to turn the wretched thing off.

Gaffe of the day (part two)

Oliver Letwin, point blank refusing to rule out increases in national insurance under the Conservatives, neutralising their key charge against Labour and handing a stick for Gordon Brown to beat him with just hours later.

The future's orange (or ginger)

Sources close to two-day-old Donald Kennedy can report that he may already be flying Lib-Dem colours. He has told friends there are definite signs, like his father, of red hair. By spooky coincidence, the Lib-Dem manifesto, published today, features a beaming Kennedy senior in a sea of lurid orange.

Rent-a-mob

Labour's travelling circus duly attended their manifesto launch, clapping and laughing at the questions. Still, it wasn't as bad as the "genuine people" in the street featuring in last night's Lib-Dem election broadcast. One was fingered as a former Euro election candidate and Paddy Ashdown staffer.

Prince Charles moment

John Prescott was seen to mouth "Fucking Pillock" as Nick Robinson, the ITV News political editor, asked a string of questions about trust in Mr Blair at Labour's launch. Unlike Prince Charles, he managed to keep it under his breath.

Lie of the Day

Tony Blair uttering words no one really believes: "I have said I will serve a full term. That's what people are electing if they elect this Government."

Quote of day

"It's no use making all these promises now. He's had eight years. They've heard it all before. Everyone knows it's never going to happen." Michael Howard on Labour's manifesto.

People

Sports minister Richard Caborn is taking time out from campaigning to run round Sheffield's seven hills in training for the London Marathon on Sunday for the Ron Pickering Foundation. Inspired by London's Olympic bid, he has been training in Beijing and Johannesburg. "I've heard of running for election, but this is ridiculous," he said.

Q&A

Q: How many election pledges did Labour publish yesterday?

A: 277, in a list running over seven pages.

Q: Never mind the quality - whose manifesto is the biggest?

A: Labour's little red book runs to 24,013. Today's Lib-Dem tome will be 16,000 words, while the Tories only stretched to 7,470 (their slimmest since 1966).

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