Nevin's Notes (28/04/10)

An alternative take on the election
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The Independent Online

Oink, oink!

The fuss about Peppa Pig refusing to take part in a Labour election event drew my attention to some appalling stereotyping in the children's cartoon series which seriously calls into question its involvement in the Sure Start programme.

I understand that Daddy Pig is portrayed as a fat, bumbling, clumsy figure of fun, while Mummy Pig is a porcine paragon of practicality and sense. Honestly, is that in any way an accurate reflection of reality?

With the Cleggs

More fascinating stuff about the Liberal Democrat leader's pedigree. On the Russian side, Nick Clegg is related to Madame Blavatsky, the interesting founder of theosophy, who claimed to have psychic powers. One of her followers, for example, claimed to see streams of astral light coming from Madame B's cuckoo clock, and she once made a teacup materialise when an unexpected guest turned up to a picnic. No doubt such memories explain why Nick has taken to saying when asked about a hung parliament: "I'm Nick Clegg, not Nostradamus."

Major developments

Sir John Major, who was last heard from sitting in his Jamaican sun-lounger, commenting that it was inadvisable for former party leaders to go campaigning, is back campaigning. In a hard-hitting speech at the Oxford Union, he asked, among much else, apropos the hung question: "So who can the British people look forward to welcoming as their second unelected Prime Minister?." Actually, Sir John, for the record there have been a few more than two. You, for example, in November 1990, if my in-depth research is correct. Time to dust off that soap box!

Peer review

Have you noticed John Thurso, the Lib Dem business spokesman? Worthy of attention if only for that moustache, a rare political thing in itself. But, even without it, he must be the only Lib Dem Viscount, ex-health club owner, rhubarb grower, ghillie, understalker, hotel manager and hereditary peer to sit in the Commons (representing Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross). Should you want to know more, I can tell you he smokes cigars, lives in a castle and has been known as "Lord Torso" since he was photographed climbing out of a swimming pool for a magazine cover. Yes, I'm sure he likes lentils and open-toed footwear as well.

Fishing news

A rare sounding of Chris Grayling, the shadow Minister for Home Sleeping Arrangements, on Radio 4's Today show, talking about crime figures. Didn't go down terribly well with my correspondents, Chris, authoritative-wise. (Nature note: Did you know the grayling is also known as the cucumber mullet in Australia?)