Nevin's Notes (15/04/10)

An alternative take on the election
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The Independent Online

* Around The Hustings. Here are some recent gleanings and vital updates, in no particular order.

1. Nancy Dell'Olio is threatening to join the campaign.

2. Katie Price, far from replying to my request for the party of her choice, has left for Egypt.

3. Amir Amrabadi, of Mr Crispins fish and chip shop, Bristol, who is sounding out his customers, says it is still too close to call.

4. After a close study, the Savile Row Company recommends that Vince Cable needs French-taped seams to combat his puckered arm holes.

5. David Laws, the Lib Dem MP who has been playing David Cameron in Nick Clegg's rehearsals for tonight's televised debate, says has not been mimicking Mr Cameron's voice or wearing any "costumes". Gracious me, what are they all up to?

* Thought For Today With Lord Mandelson, offering some sound presentational advice: "Be yourself, be clear, be straight with people and don't compete with David Cameron on personal insults."

* Thought For Today with Lord Mandelson, some minutes later: David Cameron is "looking down his rather long toffee nose" at the efforts Labour has made on regional business and industrial investment.

* Thought For Today With Lord Pearson, leader of UKIP: "The Queen's the best thing this country's got by miles, together with the armed forces and the taxi drivers."

* On The Doorstep. Teacups are rattling a bit down in South Dorset over the pedigree of the Conservative candidate, Richard Drax. There are accusations he's adjusted his name in pursuit of D Cameron's Trojan Toff policy. Drax says it's a matter of convenience, and you can see his point, as his full handle is, in fact, Richard Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax. He is also a former journalist, if a slightly unusual one: a colleague calling to check one of his stories was told he was "out shooting pheasants". A forebear was Admiral Sir Reginald Aylmer Ranfurly Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax, whose mission to Russia with the French in 1939 failed to avert the German-Soviet pact. The Admiral was also an authority on swimming pool solar heating. The Ernle, by the way, is pronounced "Earnly". In any case, the full Drax is as nothing to the longest multi-barrel on record, that of Major Leone Sextus Denys Oswolf Fraudatifilius Tollemache-Tollemache-de Orellana-Plantagenet-Tollemache-Tollemache, prudently referred to by the men under his command in Flanders as "Sir". It has been reported that Drax is an Old Etonian, which is competely untrue. He went to Harrow.

* Jobs! More of my exclusive service for those who might be a teensy bit apprehensive about 7 May. How about this: "My client based in Derbyshire has an urgent requirement for an employee expenses processor. Duties will be to liaise with employees and line managers, processing expense claims and dealing with queries. The ideal candidate will have knowledge of expenses." Actually, I think that's already gone. You do have to be quick these days.

* Do you want to preserve Boris Johnson? If so, I should be especially wary of voting Ukip. In addition to restoring the Army and the Royal Navy to levels not seen since Jutland, they are also very keen to commission no fewer than four new nuclear submarines, capable of delivering an explosive yield in total of somewhere around 15 megatonnes. And they have also promised a policy of zero tolerance towards cyclists going through red lights (Boris, Pimlico, last Friday lunchtime, with previous). Warming up nicely, then.