... and the first week of Real Campaigning. Out meeting Real People. What I learned is that I am Very Popular. Everywhere I went everyone was very happy to see me. There were old people and young people and black people and white people. They were all holding up placards saying "Forward Not Back". So obviously our campaign slogan has Really Caught On.
I think it must be the most popular slogan since "Not In My Name" (though Alastair never really explained what that meant).
At the start of the week Mr Howard launched the Tory manifesto. We all read it and agreed it was Rubbish. They even tried the old trick of handwriting key phrases, just to show how sincere they were. No one will fall for that. But the worst thing was it was Dishonest. It said that the Tories would both Cut taxes and Raise spending. This is just ridiculous. You can't do both. It would be like going to War to secure Peace! Mr Howard should realise that unless it is over a War, misleading the Great British Public is the Worst thing a politician can do. Especially at an Election. Which brings me to our first Election Broadcast. It was all about my close friend Gordon and what a good team we are. It also showed how down-to-earth and hard working we are, because we had our jackets off. And I showed how Sincere I am by handwriting key phrases.
It was made by Sir Anthony Minghella. Alastair said he'd be the perfect person to chart my developing relationship with Gordon as his first big hit was Truly, Madly, Deeply and his last one was Cold Mountain. But I didn't know what he meant.
My favourite thing was the cinematography. Me and Gordon were in focus, but if you looked away from us, it got all blurry.
I got a little confused when I heard Mr Kennedy's wife had gone into Labour. Alastair put me straight. We sent some red roses as we always seem to have loads.
Then it was our turn to launch our manifesto. One of the key decisions was what music to play. Gordon suggested "Go Now". But I said I wanted something that summed up the mood of the party. Gordon said "Your point being...?"
We decided on "It's A Beautiful Day" by U2. Gordon wasn't keen. But he must have come round because when we got to the bit where I said that this would be my Last election as Leader, he leapt to his feet and started blasting out the chorus.
When Alastair saw the stage for the launch he said, "Fuck me, it looks like the set for The Weakest Link".
I got to do some great Soundbites. My favourites were: "hard working families", "providing opportunity and security", "breaking down barriers" and "on the firm foundations we have laid down since 1997 our programme will embed a new progressive consensus in our country". Who couldn't help but be stirred by the Passion of such sentiments?
After the launch, I slipped back into the hall. "It's A Beautiful Day" was still playing. But it was a different bit. It went: "The traffic is stuck, and you're not moving anywhere, you're on the road, but you've got no destination." But there was no one left to hear it. Just me.
Now don't tell Mr Howard or Mr Kennedy but that's the real secret to Winning Elections. There's no point in playing the whole song. Just choose the bit that sounds the best. Cheers, Tony
PS Let's All Embed A New Progressive Consensus!
As told to Rohan Candappa, the author of the marvellous 'The Curious Incident of the WMD in Iraq', published by Profile Books at a very reasonable £5.99Reuse content