Off Message: An anonymous MP writes

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Indy Politics

Monday Last day in Westminster. Yes, it is like school. Silent yawning chamber, gloomy sepulchral corridors. If only the electorate could see it like this it would rekindle faith in democracy. Someone has put four large boxes in my room. They must have read the Telegraph poll that says we're sinking fast. They pose questions like "Should Britain re-take control of its own borders and economy or will you vote for the lying toerag Blair"? Depressing poll nonetheless.

Tuesday HQ a satisfying scene of apiarian activity, heaps of billboards, canvass sheets, leaflets and balloons. Sent to Tesco to stock up on provisions and buy battery for my amplified soap box. I am stopped in the aisles by helpful constituents pledging support and rearranging my trolley: "You've got my vote, can't stand Blair, you're crushing the taramasalata."Adoption speech in the evening. I weigh into Tory race tactics. It goes well. Michael Howard has done something better than Blair - united the Labour Party. Battery doesn't fit.

Wednesday. Canvassing begins in earnest. The usual smattering of tattooed f-offs but otherwise the renewed impression of a decent, concerned electorate with little sign of the much hyped disillusionment. A man has come to look at the soap box.

Thursday Chris Moncrieff, father of lobby hacks, phones about my reported refusal to have ministers visit my patch during the election. Wanted to know if any had tried to creep in. I told him we had a strict border policy but I couldn't guarantee against the odd failure given the ingenuity of those involved.

Friday Meeting at midnight with my local Bengali community which contains many restaurant workers. They are deeply unimpressed with Howard's campaign. Best news of the week: Mo Mowlam is coming next Tuesday. Worth a brace of ministers any day. Soap box is working better than ever. Hecklers beware.

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