Nevin's Notes (07/04/10)

An alternative take on the election
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The Independent Online

* Welcome to this election's most essential guide to those small nuances, odd pointers and gently fluttering straws which will allow the discerning to direct that hovering cross with complete confidence come the big day.

* First off! So who's hit the ground running? Many commentators will nod, sagely, to David Cameron's early morning jog and speech at London's County Hall while many other commentators were still sensibly conserving their energy horizontally. I wonder, though, at the symbolism of offering the pre-jog media attendees tea and then telling them it would not always be available. Besides, the undisputed fastest achievement of the day was witnessed by Mrs Brenda Bonwell of Wyke Regis: "Members of the Labour team were here hammering in a post in our garden to take a poster supporting Jim Knight [Government minister, beard] just after the announcement was made. It was pretty amazing." Let's get to it, indeed!

* Actually, that inspiring rallying cry, uttered by the Prime Minister in Downing Street, is a direct quote from what must be another of his favourite artistes: it happens to be the title of Kylie Minogue's fourth album. The Conservatives, meanwhile, have stepped up the battle for the soul of DCI Gene Hunt of Ashes to Etc. You will recall the Labour poster with Cameron as Gene, and the slogan, "Don't let him take Britain back to the 1980s", rebutted by the Tories with their own Hunt poster and message, "Fire Up The Quattro, It's Time For Change". Now they're handing out mugs with it on to the media. Rumours reach me that the next stage will be a mug bearing that of Harriet Harman, accompanied by another arresting Huntism: "She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot."

* Splendid, too, to have Lord Kinnock back on prime-time morning radio, complete with trademark high-risk soundbite: "If you want charisma, buy a ticket for the cinema. If you want someone to effectively manage the economy then you will vote Labour." I've checked: sadly, Tredegar, Neil's home town, no longer has a picture house – whose fault is that, I wonder? – but at nearby Merthyr Tydfil, they're showing, wait for it, Clash of the Titans. Plus Alvin And The Chipmunks 2 : The Squeakquel.

* This column is indeed lucky to have secured the services of the renowned psephologist, Dr Chad Ballot. Many a troubled voter – and politician! – has been helped by his breezy approach, delivered with a kindly twinkle.

* And, already, we have a question, from CN of London, W8: "Dear Dr Ballot: I'm puzzled. Everyone has been telling us that this election will be very different, tussled over in cyberspace rather than on the doorstep. And yet both leaders of the two main parties have already been pictured jogging, jumped on trains, and must by now have kissed at least three babies apiece. Not only that, but I swear Gordon was wearing that running top when I spied him nearly 20 years ago in a Millbank gym cycling at two mph while studying a pink newspaper!" Dr Ballot responds: "Dear CN. Continuity is as reassuring as change is exciting. The time to get worried is when Eric Pickles starts stripping off, Sir Ming brings out his spikes, and Lord Mandelson gives us his acclaimed version of Delilah. Yours aye, CB".

* Quote of the day came from Andy Harrison, the chief executive of easyJet: "It is an honour to welcome George Osborne to Luton."

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