Nevin's Notes: 20/04/2010

An alternative take on the election
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Indy Politics

Secret scribbler

Midsomer Mystery. This deep disaffection with both major parties is catching. Some person or persons unknown, for example, in that double-monickered marvel of the Mendips, Midsomer Norton, insists on doctoring those Tory posters mocking the smiling Prime Minister. That one reading "I Took Millions From Pensions. Vote For Me", has been carefully amended to "I Took Pills. Vote for Me". Please stop it, this is supposed be a an adult kind of election with no insults, loaded messages or that sort of thing. Thank you.

Return of the chicken

Chicken! Time-honoured traditions be praised: the Mirror's chicken is back! This large legendary creature was last seen in the 1997 election, often in an unedifying if furious tussle with the Tory chicken as the two fowls got into a flap trying to confront John Major and Tony Blair. There was also a fox, a rhinoceros and two teddy bears. I still cherish the rhinoceros's soundbite: "I want to make the point that the level of debate in the political campaign seems to have become ludicrous, with a lot of people dressing up." Oh, and this, from British Midland: "We can confirm that a man dressed as a chicken flew from Heathrow to Edinburgh on our 12.40 service." Gore Vidal, who was covering the campaign, pointed out the chickens were copying Bill Clinton against George Bush Senior in 1992: "There were chickens at every Bush meeting, coast to coast. The chicken usually made the better speech, too." Gore also made this splendid and even more currently pertinent comment, when asked to sum up the difference between Labour and the Tories: "I did not come to Lilliputia with a measuring stick".

Burger Ben

Beef! Reports reach me of a worrying lack of top Tory support for their candidate in Ipswich. I'm sure this has nothing to do with Ben Gummer's illustrious and interesting background: yes, this is one of the children of John Gummer, allegedly fed on nothing but beefburgers during the BSE crisis 20 years ago. Still, he looks pretty chipper in his website picture. Slightly more worrying is the section entitled "Where has Ben been?", which shows that, recently, he has been mostly in the pub. The Swan, The Lord Nelson, and The Gardener's Arms have all had "Ben in the Pub" sessions, with the Milestone and a return trip to The Lord Nelson coming up. Well. If anyone can tell me exactly what he's been having in the basket on these visits, please get in touch.

c.nevin@independent.co.uk

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