Nevin's Notes (14/04/10)

An alternative take on the election
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The Independent Online

* Is it me, or is nostalgia now the main theme of this campaign? Labour's slogan might be "A Future Fair For All", but it is accompanied by a picture of a family clearly from the Fifties. David Cameron's "We're All In This Together" cries out for those celebrated riders, "Don't panic!" from Dad's Army's Corporal Jones, and "Doomed!" from Private Fraser. UKIP's "Sod The Lot" has a similar feel, which is perhaps not surprising from a party whose leader has ringingly declared: "If the Germans turn nasty to get their way in Europe, we'll do it again, we'll beat them. I don't see any difficulty with it, as long as we retain our nuclear deterrent". Crikey. But then Lord Pearson is an interesting chap: he can stalk, kill and gralloch a deer by himself and in 1977 God appeared to him during a varicose vein operation. I doubt even Vince Cable can match that.

* Stars! I'm not sure that Alan Johnson, the only kaftan-wearing, keyboard-playing member of Sixties band The In-Betweens to become a postman and Home Secretary, should be making enemies of one of our most forward-looking faith groups. But read this: "Looking at Cameron is like reading a horoscope – at first glance it tells you want you want to see but when you delve deeper it's all superficial." Well, naturally I turned to Mystic Meg (did you know she's from Accrington?) to discover the outlook for Alan. It cost me £9.95. Hmmm. Not entirely encouraging, I fear. Alan: have you still got that kaftan?

* Soap! There was talk of John Major and his soapbox making a dramatic return in this election. And this, let me tell you, is a man who appreciates drama: to make one important announcement during his time in office, for example, he changed from his grey suit into another grey suit. But what is this? Jack Straw, owner of the second-most famous soap box in British politics, has been in Reading with it, refreshments being handed up to him by candidates during the course of a speech described by one onlooker as "interminable". Come on, Sir John, you can easily beat that! (And no, I haven't forgotten my promise to tell you about Jack and the ice-cream van before 6 May).

* Stars (2)! Hold everything, more faith group news – from the Jedi Knights! I had asked them if they were going to endorse any of the parties, no small matter considering that, according to the 2001 census, there are 390,000 in this country, making Jediism our fourth-largest religion. The reply is from Master Zemba, of the Order of the Jedi, replies: "There is no official position regarding the election in our organisation". Which means, sadly, that in May the force will be with no one in particular.

* Canvas opportunity. An occasional service for anyone worried about being at a loose end on 7 May: Halford's is advertising for a sleeping bag tester at £600 a week. The tester will have to sleep under canvas for five days, testing a range of bags for warmth and strength. Former MPs may worry that they do not have the credentials for the job, what with their second homes, but a spokesman for Halfords says: "Previous camping experience would be a bonus but we're not ruling out a novice." More as I have them.