Nevin's Notes (13/04/10)

An alternative take on the election
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The Independent Online

* Manifesto Special. All very modish, but, for me, lacking a little in imagination, policy-wise, the Labour effort. In search of some rather more exciting ideas, and having overcome my disappointment that the BNP are not now standing in their natural constituency, Barking, I have instituted a nationwide search for fresh thinking. While we are waiting for responses from, inter alia, the Jedi Knights and Captain Beany, the caped, baked bean-focused superhero standing in Aberavon, I will show you what I mean. Labour is proposing to spend £100m on potholes. But all this could be saved if, taking advantage of their traffic-calming potential, they were rebranded Speed Holes; slightly enlarged, they could be employed as mini-roundabouts. See? More policies, please!

* Nick Clegg missed the chance to open up a lead over his rivals when he visited a nursery in Northampton yesterday: babies everywhere, but not one kissed. Mrs Sarah McGuinness, grandmother of four-month-old Archie Holmes was just one of those disappointed: "I think it's terrible. They always kiss babies." Better news for purists from Gordon Brown on a factory visit in Rugby: yes, a hard hat! Not long before the white hairnet hygiene thingy now, surely. And a fascinating new development at the manifesto launch: Peter Hain, John Denham and Lord Adonis arriving in identical suits, white shirts and purple ties. Close harmony backing group (The Cabinettes)? Evangelists (The Gordons)? Tarantino tribute act? More, please!

* Where Are They Now? Mr Wilson, a reader, writes: "No election coverage such as your own could be complete without a review of the contribution being made by Jeffrey Archer. Why, he has been part of the electoral landscape since I was in short trousers. Please find out what he's doing." A pleasure, Mr Wilson. Alison Prince, Personal Assistant to Jeffrey Archer? "Jeffrey is currently overseas, writing his new novel." Just fancy that.

* Backgrounder. Some of you might have been wondering exactly who was the personable chap wandering along that road in Labour's election broadcast while you were waiting for Dr Who's voiceover at the end. I can help: Sean Pertwee, the actor, son of Jon Pertwee, who, showing that the mighty Labour presentation machine is whirling strong as ever, was another Dr Who. Sean is currently in talks over two movies, Infected, and Stand Well Back, and making another, The Fourth Reich. Past work includes Doomsday, Botched and Wilderness. He is related, unsurprisingly, to a number of Pertwees, including Bill Pertwee, who played Warden Hodges in Dad's Army. Bill was also "Husband with Javelin" in Confessions of a Pop Performer. Sean's father-in-law is the Conservative peer, Lord Colwyn, the only hereditary trumpet-playing dentist. Don't mention it.

* The Touch of Doom! Mighty Labour presentation team coughs and splutters to a halt as it is revealed that Ellie Gellard, the blogger who introduced Mr Brown at the election launch, had called for him to go in 2008 and suggested something untoward involving stairs, a skateboard and Lady Thatcher in 2009. Still, I might have some consolation for the PM: early reports from Kent suggest that his piglet has taken the lead in a series of races against piglets named after David Cameron and Nick Clegg. But, of course, it could all change.