With my help Mr Hamilton's victory is assured

The Agreeable World of Wallace Arnold
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The Independent Online
May I stick my neck out? In all my forty-odd years as a major player in the political arena, I have never felt so confident about anything as I do about a Conservative landslide on 1 May. Indeed, a majority of between 100 and 150 for John Major would not surprise me in the slightest, perhaps with the Referendum Party romping home in second place.

Let the so-called "experts" (dread word!) in their ivory towers prattle on about a Blair victory. What arrant nonsense!

The ordinary, decent men and women of this country tell a different story. O'er the past fortnight, I have been banging the Tory drum in the marginals, and I have been struck by how much the ordinary fellow on the Clapham omnibus is rooting for the amiable Dr Mawhinney. And before those of you on the Hard Left begin to scoff, remember this: it was I who successfully predicted (on BBC's Newsnight) that Bob Dole would secure the Presidency - which he very nearly did, coming second.

And it was I, too, who categorically stated, as long ago as 1987 (the Times, 23 May) that Dr David Owen was well-positioned to take over the reins of power from Margaret Thatcher and lead Britain into the challenges of the 21st century. In this, I proved right in all but the minor details: Dr Owen is still supremely well- positioned, but well-positioned to become a trainee locum in a small country practice rather than anything more lofty.

But even the most certain victories benefit from a helping hand. This past week, I have been joining Dr Mawhinney in flying the blue flag in two troublespots - and, I may add, the famous "Arnold Touch" seems to have paid dividends once more!

Poop! Poop! First stop, Tatton! There I find my old friend Mr Neil Hamilton in ebullient form, very much at home in his armour-plated battlebus, nipping out in balaclava and novelty beard to meet a welcoming electorate for a few seconds before nipping back in and driving on. A lot of nonsense has been written in the gutter press about some sort of "feud" between Mr Hamilton and my old mentor Mr Mohamed al-Fayed. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The two remain the firmest of friends, and Mr Hamilton has high hopes of luring Mr al-Fayed to a luxury mid-week break at the two-star Tatton Ring-Road Motel before being secretly photographed by yours truly presenting Mohamed with a courtesy envelope containing a prestigious Berol pen- and pencil-set and a Rumbelows discount voucher worth pounds 3.75.

Frankly, I have never seen an electorate as ebullient as the voters of Tatton. Donations are pouring into Mr Hamilton's constituency headquarters from every direction - 75 pence from a senior citizen to raise the problem of her loose roof-tiles in a Question to the Secretary of State for the Environment, a pounds 2 luncheon voucher from a retired businessman to condemn the new parking restrictions off Tatton High Street in a Question to the Prime Minister, pounds 25 in used fivers from Conservative Central Office towards a long holiday on the North Iceland broads. Needless to say, I take a photocopy of each letter for Dr Mawhinney.

And so, on to Derbyshire, where Mrs Edwina Currie is standing for re- election with, alas, only a pencil-thin majority. I have been asked to visit her constituency by Dr Mawhinney and all at Smith Square, in the hope that my powerful presence will help persuade floating voters in the right direction.

"Wallace," said Dr Mawhinney, with a sly grin, "you must try to make your presence felt upon every doorstep. A couple of words from you should be enough to convince anyone about where they should stand on Mrs Currie".

Flattery indeed! I have now developed a technique for convincing even the most obstinate voter. "Good morrow to you, sir!' I bellow on the doorstep, letting myself in and helping myself to a cup of instant coffee. I then proceed to remind the voter of Mrs Currie's extraordinary achievements as a junior minister, particularly in the field of the Great British Egg, but also as quite the most outstanding sex novelist of her generation.

"It beats me how she finds time to write so much - and to such profit! - while serving the best interests of her constituents!" I say. "And surely it is high time we forgot those unwise outbursts about salmonella - don't tell me you can't remember them?!"

Happy to say, Central Office are delighted by my handling of Mr Hamilton and Mrs Currie. This week, I am off to lend a helping hand to Mr David Evans and Mr Piers Merchant. Poop poop! Poop poop!

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