Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Election Diary - Day 3: Bruisers, Breweries and Buses

Wednesday 1st April
Happy April Fools’ Day. However, we’re dealing with an area where foolishness is a daily (if not hourly) occurrence, the politicians seem to have decided that today they are going to try really hard not to do anything silly. Boris is safely hidden somewhere out of sight.1

Ed Miliband is on the battle bus, and it really does look like a battle bus. Think if National Express did Imperial Star Destroyers.
It’s a big day for Ed as Labour have a problem. 103 business leaders have signed a letter to The Daily Telegraph which (surprise, surprise) backs the Tory-led government’s policies and urges against a change of course.
“But I wooed them,” says Ed. “Two days ago, I wooed them, by using their words without their permission and telling them that I would really like them to like me.”
If there’s one thing Ed doesn’t like, it’s betrayal.
Beneath the geekish, adenoidal exterior beats the heart of a cold-hearted killer. So it is that he welcomes Bill Turnbull onto the Stagecoach Enterprise determined to show everyone just how tough he is by taking a stand against zero hours contracts.
Ed is confident, assertive, and not going to be pushed around by this Etonian, and he makes his displeasure known, listing all of the policies that will hit higher-earners, including the treacherous business leaders: 50% income tax above £150,000, a mansion tax above £2 million. “The broadest shoulders should bear the greatest burden,” he said threateningly.
“That’ll show them,” mutters Ed afterwards. “No-one messes with tough Ed.”
He nudges a passing senior aide and asks a “favour” of them.

“Yes,” said Ed as he read it, cracking his knuckles, before starting to do pull-ups and wondering whether he should get a tattoo.
"Ed," asks an advisor. "Have you seen this April Fools' tweet that The Sun have put up?"
"It is no joke," replies Ed, cold and steely, tapping into his inner-Lady Macbeth.
"Ed, what do you mean?" replies the nervous adviser, unnerved by Ed's freezing glare.
“I may not have business, but now they know I mean business.”
Two minutes later, he had given up on pull-ups, and was eating his morning chocolate from the election advent calendar.

A gentle and later start for the Prime Minister, no doubt relieved not to have a PMQs to face this Wednesday. To celebrate, he has gone to the Marstons brewery in Wolverhampton, presumably to prove that he can indeed organise a piss-up there.
We have it on authority from CCHQ that DC hasn’t organised a piss-up since his university days, where he threw quite the fancy dress party, we’re told.

With one minute to go until April Fools expires, Boris is unleashed. He has told the Evening Standard of his vision for a moral politics. A passing knowledge of Boris’ morals should let you know what we’re in for.
“A bacchanal!” cries Boris. “Carpe noctem! Castigat ridendo mores!”
Why isn’t he running the campaign? Imagine the slogans.

“Nick, it’s bad news. The latest polls suggest that you won’t hold you seat.”
Nick breaks out into a medley of Nina Simone hits. He can almost taste the freedom.

Two Tory aides stand aghast. They cannot believe what they are looking at.
“He’s got a hammer, Piers.”
“I know, Nathaniel.”
“He’s got red leather gloves on, Piers.”
“I know, Nathaniel.”
“It’s a Have I Got News For You wet dream, Piers.”
“I know Nathaniel. Still, could be worse. There could have been an axe lying around here somewhere.”

A Tory campaign aide meets up with an old uni friend, who happens to be his opposite number at the Labour party, for a late lunch at a little Italiano near St James Park.
“I see you said that 1.8 million people are on Zero Hours Contracts this morning?”, said Tory to Lab.
“Yes, dear boy.”
“It’s nearer 700,000.”
“Yes, dear boy. But I see you said that we’d raise a household tax bill by £3,000 the other day.”
“Ah, that was different. We were guessing.”
They smile at each other and raise a glass of Chianti to their old Oxford PPE tutor.
“The politics of confusion,” they say. “Long may it reign.”

Meanwhile in Glasgow, Nick Clegg is lunching with reporters. The official party line on his worrying polling in his constituency of Sheffield Hallam is that it wasn’t a fair poll. Lord Ashcroft (the pollster) doesn’t name the candidates in his surveys, and Nick feels this is crucial. Once he is named in a poll, there will be an “uplift”.
There definitely won’t be further retribution. That won’t happen.

Piers and Nathaniel could do nothing to stop them. Now, Osborne had the hammer.
“This is bizarre. What are they like, Piers?”
“I know, Nathaniel.”
“George is even adopting a position that reminds David of school.”
“I know, Nathaniel.”

It all went a little quiet in the afternoon, perhaps because the party leaders needed to prepare for tomorrow’s debate. Piers and Nathaniel are now trying to get David to act Prime Ministerial. Nick Clegg is trying to find the spirit of 2010. Nigel Farage is at the bar. The Greens must think it’s Christmas Eve. The nationalists are prepping being parochial. Ed Miliband is watching WWE.
It promises to be the biggest clusterfuck since The Charge of the Light Brigade. 120 minutes between 7 leaders comes out as 17 minutes per candidate across four topics and opening and closing statements. This is the sort of challenge more suited to performance poets rather than national debaters.

Who will everyone agree with? Who will be the pantomime villain now that Paxman’s unavailable? What quotation will make for the best mug? All these questions and little else will be answered tomorrow. Until then, I’m off to grab a hammer and go to a brewery to find out what the hell that was even about. 

1 Events depicted may differ from actual events. In fact, this is a work of fiction, with some facts. But mostly, it's nonsense.

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