Andy McSmith's Election Diary: Gaffes are killing the radio star


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Indy Politics

To soften the blow for Michael Gove when he was moved out of his job as Education Secretary into the non-Cabinet role of Chief Whip, Downing Street spun that he would be the “Minister for the Today programme”.

Regular appearances on a programme with an audience not far short of seven million would be prestigious – except that Gove is hardly ever heard in the morning. But many is the time he turned up on Newsnight, with 600,000 viewers – so often that Evan Davis introduced him on Tuesday as the “Minister for Newsnight”.

He also did an interview on Radio 4’s PM, whose audience of around four million heard him describe Tony Blair as the Prime Minister. Gove hurriedly corrected that slip. “The late Prime Minister,” he spluttered. “The ex-Prime Minister.” But minutes later, he did it again, prompting Eddie Mair to ask: “Would you rather he was Prime Minister?”

The Greens’  weird man band

The new video released by the Green Party featured a pastiche of a boy band with men in identical suits pretending to be Cameron, Miliband, Clegg and Farage. The message was they are all the same: only the Green Party is different. Inspired or dreadful? It is strange to claim no one can tell the difference between Miliband and Farage.

Admission of the day

“The election is not a bacon-sandwich-eating competition. I probably wouldn’t win if it was.”

Ed Miliband admits to Stylist magazine where his weakness lies

Bloody cyclists coming over here...

Immigrants are not the only ones Ukip wants curbed. It emerges that it does not like cyclists either.

A Ukip leaflet in Newcastle has the headline “Are cycle lanes paved  with gold?” The text bewails the grant that the city council has received towards the cost of creating cycle lanes.

It says: “Cyclists are the chosen people, motorists are simply a cash cow and have very few rights.”

And in Mole Valley, Surrey, Ukip candidate Paul Oakley is reported by cycling blog to be lobbying to stop Box Hill cycle races. He says they should be held in Uxbridge, expected to be Boris Johnson’s new parliamentary seat. “Boris Johnson conspired with Surrey County Council to introduce regular cycling competitions to the Surrey Hills,” he says. “These have boxed in locals and led to traffic chaos.”

Angry, almost young man

Labour wants Plaid Cymru to sack its candidate in Ceredigion, Mike Parker, because in 2001 he called English-born inhabitants of rural Wales “gun-toting Final Solution crackpots”. Mr Parker says he was “younger and angrier” back then. He was younger but not young: Wikipedia says he was born in 1967.

Quote of the day

“Feeling a bit like today’s Gillian Duffy... Not in a bad way.”

Jolyon Maugham QC on how it felt to be the expert cited by Ed Balls in support of Labour’s new policy on ending non-dom tax status