Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Nevin's Notes (08/04/10)

An alternative take on the election

* Uncanny. Can these people who claim that the whole world is a conspiracy against G Brown be right? Where, for example, did he choose to begin his campaign? That's right: a supermarket in Strood. And who is Strood's most famous son? That's right: Isaac Newell, 19th-century founder of that renowned Argentine football club Newell's Old Boys. And just hours later, possibly the most famous Newell's Old Boys' Old Boy, Lionel Messi, puts four past Arsenal. I ask you. Bang goes the Islington North vote and feelgood factor, I should have said. Far-fetched, coincidence? You shake hands with him. He got stuck in a lift at GMTV yesterday, by the way. With John Stapleton.

* At last! It wouldn't be an election without a late selection row. This time the PM is attempting to impose Chris Leslie, a former MP, on a reluctant Nottingham East. I don't know what they're so upset about. Not only did Leslie brilliantly run Gordon's leadership election campaign against no one, but he is also the fearless upholder of civil rights who pointed out that Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, was in the habit of leaving her wheelie bin half on the pavement outside her house, thus infringing freedom of movement. Excellent. Get him in! And remind me to tell you about Jack Straw and the ice-cream van before 6 May.

* Celebrities! And in the matter of VIP endorsements, I think I can promise with some confidence that this column will be relentless in its search for that nod and a wink from the famous which can so often sway a close decision on social and economic policy. And we start with the legendary Wurzels, who have been celebrating the scrapping of the 10 per cent increase on cider after the Conservatives refused to allow it through without debate. Understandably, the boys, who had been leading a campaign against the rise, were not available when I got in touch, but their manager, Mr Sil Willcox, was able to tell me there had yet to be a final decision on endorsement, as they intended to listen carefully to what everybody had to say. Worry not: we shall return to them before 6 May. Meanwhile, Mr Willcox would like you to know that you can catch them in Bicester on 24 April, in Looe the next day, and also on their latest release, the justly acclaimed "A Load More Bullocks".

* Full English? It has been brought to my attention that Chris Grayling, the shadow Home Secretary, was absent from the last PMQs yesterday. I'm afraid I cannot confirm suggestions that he was considering his future after his recent bout of unfavourable publicity, but he might care to know that there's a six-bedroom house very attractively priced, complete with beach hut (separate negotiation) currently available in Frinton-on-Sea, a snip at £350K, excellent B&B potential.

* More now from my legendary psephologist, Dr Chad Ballot, who is available to answer any questions you might have with expertise and charm. And today's query is from that tireless correspondent, CN of London, W8: "Dear Dr Ballot: What should I make of David Cameron cycling without a helmet? Disgracefully irresponsible or attractively edgy?" Dr Ballot responds: "A worrying development, especially if it spreads to factory visits and everyone refusing to wear those close-fitting little white hairnet thingies. I love them in those. Yours aye, CB."