Nevin's Notes (21/04/10)

An alternative take on the election
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The Independent Online

On the (chicken) run

Goodness me: it's a bit fevered out there. First, David Cameron throws out the planned election broadcast, retreats to his garden to make a plea from the heart about the dangers of flirting with N Clegg. Then he leaves his home under motorcycle and machine gun escort. Perhaps he had some inkling he would be attacked by that pesky Mirror chicken. Which he was, in Tamworth, late seat of Sir Robert Peel, author of the famous manifesto. But top hats off to the current Tory leader as he decapitated the chicken in an exciting personal confrontation. And it still wasn't over: he then kissed a baby! He did! The first recorded in these notes by anyone so far in this campaign! How desperate is all this getting?

School's out on Nick

Depths and sinking. I know Nick Clegg was warned, but really. The Daily Telegraph yesterday ran an article by a former Westminster schoolmate. "Nick Clegg: Hands in pocket, staring straight at the camera", ran the headline over a school picture. Staring at the camera, in a photograph? Well. But there's worse. We learn "when it came to gritty competitive sport, Nick lacked the killer instinct". Well (2). But worst of all, this headline, stark, with no need to say any more, really: "An overtly academic teenager".

Dig a little deeper

David, David. Steady. If I may adapt two campaign favourites, Gene Hunt and Chris Grayling, this one looks as suspicious as two men on a B&B doorstep. Monday night, Conservative spokesman on revelation two businessmen who signed the famous National Insurance letter, Simon Wolfson of Next and Sir Anthony Bamford of JCB, had been recommended by the Tories for peerages: "Any suggestion that the new peerages are linked to the campaign against Labour's jobs tax is complete nonsense." Some time later: David Cameron's visit to JCB HQ yesterday was called off. Hmmm. Gene?

Liberal to the core

Nick, Nick. Steady. This from an interview with "X Factor's Dermot O'Leary". DO'L: "What about you, you were a first-time voter in '87? What inspired you? Presumably you voted Liberal in '87?" NC: "Yeah I've always – I'm just trying to think um." DO'L: "Just clear that up, you have always voted Liberal? NC: I've always voted Liberal, absolutely. Um." Hmmm. Gene?

Tailor made

Peter, Peter... Lord Mandelson on the BBC Today programme said Labour had to put "greater emphasis on reform and tailoring services for the individual". Exciting! Do you think we are all going to be offered a new suit, like in 1946? Or something else? Jeans?