Friday, May 29, 2015

The Sepp Blatter School of PR, sponsored by Coca-Cola and The Brown Envelope Company

“Good morning class. My name is Mr Blatter, but you can call me Don Corleone. Today we shall be covering how you deal with corruption scandals engulfing your organisation and senior colleagues being arrested. Vladimir, how would you deal with this news?”

“I do not have to deal with it as I am the one who would have arrested my colleagues.”

“Okay, but David: how do you deal with it? Imagine if, for example, your Director of Communications were arrested.”

“I don’t have to imagine.”

“Well, how did you deal with it?”

“Frankly, I didn’t know what to do.”

“Oh,” said Sepp. “It is easy. You say this is a great day for your organisation, that it is a result of investigations you started, and then you give everyone Rolexes until they stop asking questions.”

“That’s ridiculous,” said David.

“That’s outrageous,” said François.

“That’s expensive,” said Vladimir. “All those Rolexes! Still, the thinking is good.”

“Now,” said Sepp. “What about the implications for you personally? François? Do you take responsibility for the conduct of your organisation?”

“Mais oui. You are in charge. You are the leader. You are responsible.”

“Wrong!” screamed Sepp. “No – you cannot be everywhere at one time. What if you are on holiday, or at a football match, or having croissants with your mistress in a Paris atelier? You can’t be expected to keep track of everything with such a busy schedule. Just say you are committed to setting things right, and give money to anyone who wants to buy an apartment for their cats.”

“That’s ridiculous,” said François.

“That’s outrageous,” said David.

“The man’s a genius,” said Vladimir.

“Finally,” Sepp continued, “how do you deal with elections when a scandal like this has broken?”

“Hold your wife close and prepare for oblivion,” said David.

“Hold your mistress close and prepare for oblivion,” said François.

“I have no idea what you guys are talking about,” said Vladimir.

“You are right Vladimir,” said Sepp. “These guys are pessimists. You just carry on regardless, safe in the knowledge that you have sprayed enough money around to secure half of the votes.”

“What?” spurted David.

“What?” scoffed François.

“What?” exclaimed Vladimir. “Only half? So brave.”

“That concludes today’s lesson class,” said Sepp. “Just one more thing. Angela – why do you never turn up in short shorts like I ask?”

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Queen's Speech Diary

Wednesday 27th May
Her Majesty is jigging around Buckingham Palace as she prepares for her short trip down to Westminster, singing as she goes: “The handbags and the gladrags that your poor old uncle had to abdicate to give you”.
Prince Philip is in full regimental dress, sword and all, but he woke up like that.

Her hat safely delivered ahead of her, along with the Sword of State, and the Cap of Maintenance, and the Feather-Duster of Justice, and the Stone of Miliband, Her Majesty departs for Westminster in her newest ride, the Diamond Jubilee Carriage.
Liz has pimped her ride out with bits of wood from the Mary Rose and HMS Victory. Take that Kanye!

Michael Gove, the new Lord Chancellor, walks down the Royal Gallery in full dress and with an austere face of fixed severity and concentration, as he thinks to himself "I mustn't look like I'm enjoying the feel of these tights. But I am."

The organisers are getting jittery. “Right chaps! She’s almost here. If you don’t have a stick, piss off. Remember, Britain would never have become great had it not been for men with sticks.”

Her Majesty is in the Lords and has sent Black Rod to summon the Commons.
And now it is time for the customary barb from Dennis Skinner to Black Rod…
But none is forthcoming.
There’s no other description for it: it’s a constitutional crisis. Never before has such a flagrant disregard for ceremony been seen. Skinner must surely resign his position as Heckler of the Duchy of Lancaster.

In the traditional awkward walk between the Commons and the Lords, Harriet Harman and David Cameron are silent before they decide that some small-talk might be good for the cameras.
“Bet you’re upset,” says Harman, “what with Sam Allardyce leaving West Ham.”

And here’s the speech. Her Majesty has to read some Tory spin – “One Nation", "Long-Term economic plan” and so on. Hopefully, one year she will just say “Who writes this shit?” She even has to say “Northern Powerhouse”.
She also has to say “Psycho-active drugs”, which was nice.

The Queen leaves the Palace of Westminster.
“One knocked it out of the park,” she chortles. “Back home in time for lunch, and then a bit of surfing on the dark net and some legal highs before the buggers get rid of them.”

The debate on the Conservatives programme for government starts. The Beast of Bolsover is in position, in front of a flock of SNP MPs, who are wearing white roses, declaring an unexpected fealty to the House of York.
Simon Burns (Conservative, Chelmsford) proposes the Humble Address as a response to Her Majesty’s Gracious Address. This really is how our government begins its business. Burns is a former Health Minister, and a current smoker, which is literally from the scripts of Yes Minister.
Harman begins her speech, describing herself and the Prime Minister as “self-declared Interim Leaders”, and tells him to beware of the blonde on the zip wire. Boris starts excitedly looking for this blonde, before realising that it is he who is being referred to.
Cameron, meanwhile, references the return of Alex Salmond. The former SNP leader raises his eyebrow and stares back at the PM, as if to say “Oi pal! Do you want some?”
In a lighter encounter, Cameron refers to Burns as gasping for a fag, a feeling that the Prime Minister knows well from his school days.
The SNP start performing the unparliamentary practice of clapping, and Bercow is having none of it, slapping it down. The SNP look like chastened school children, and as if they are plotting to put a whoppee cushion under the speaker’s chair.
Last scene of all, that ends this strange somewhat dull history, is second childishness and mere oblivion for Nick Clegg. Alone, squeezed next to the SNP, Clegg speaks for his party for the last time, a sad and distant figure. Not two months ago, he had his own question time. Now his speech is time-limited, and he has to wait for others to speak. He speaks after a man who led the most hopeless coup against John Major, after a woman who resigned for insulting white van men, and a full two-and-a-quarter hours after the debate began.
So, there he stood, defiantly speaking. Sans smile, sans office, sans seats, sans everything.

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

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Weekly Diary: 18th May to 22nd May

Strictly Balls as Swearing MPs Go Back to School
Monday 18th May
It’s the first day of school, as MPs return to the Commons. John Bercow is returned as Speaker without opposition, having been seconded by Jacob Rees-Mogg, the MP for the 19th Century, who did not disappoint by giving us a potted history of Commons Speakers in the 19th Century.

Then it’s onto opening speeches. School Bully and Prime Minister David Cameron has to try and not look smug about his unexpected majority. He does not succeed.

After Labour’s Caretaker-in-General, Harriet Harman, we rattle through the minor parties, whilst on-looking politicos play the near-impossible game of “Spot a Lib Dem”. It is a game that Mr Bercow fails at completely, because he forgets to call upon Alastair Carmichael to give a speech for the party. No sign of Nick Clegg. He’s probably nursing his hangover. Or refuelling it.

Tuesday 19th May
Today will see a lot of MPs swearing. The Lords, who are much more up for this sort of thing, were swearing yesterday and will continue to do so for most of the week.

I speak of oaths of course, or affirmations, as these days there’s a lot of flexibility allowing members to exclude God but not the Queen, stating an order of priority that may not have gone down well upstairs. Numerous MPs have argued that the oath should be to their constituents. Other meaningful suggestions may include swearing to good accounting.

When the swearing did finally take place, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband stood and chatted together. No doubt they have discovered a strange kinship in the last few weeks. Or maybe Nick wanted advice on where he could get a good gravestone made.

Wednesday 20th May
UKIP insists that it’s not on fire. Nigel Farage declared this whilst standing in front of some burning party offices, and said that this whole “No smoke without fire thing” was a myth promoted by immigrants and the BBC.

Then Suzanne Evans emerged, her face sooty, her dress charred, saying that they are all united and any appearance of disunity or combustion of any kind was not supported by the evidence of people lashing out at Farage and then being fired.
Sacked, sorry. Sacked. Not fired. There is no fire.

Rumours are spreading that Ed Balls is going to be a guest on Strictly Come Dancing. Sources close to the former Labour MP say that Mr Balls is working on the agility of the balls of his feet, and that he is preparing for a ballsy attempt to win the Glitter Balls Trophy.

Meanwhile, advice from our new travel correspondent, Ed Miliband, who says: “Have you been to Ibiza? I recommend it. You don’t have to go raving.” Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, Ed.

Thursday 21st May
Bad news for the Government. Net migration figures have risen by 50% to 318,000 last year, just under the 2005 record high. This leads to an extraordinary day for a Westminster Lobby Journalist.

First he goes up to a Labour politician.
“What do you have to say about the immigration figures?”
“They’re shocking. The Tories are useless.”
“What would you do?”
“Well, it’s a major issue, but one thing I do know is that the Tories are useless.”

Then he goes up to a Lib Dem politician.
“What do you have to say about the immigration figures?”
“They’re shocking. The Tories are useless.”
“Weren’t you responsible for these figures too? They were measured under the Coalition.”
“Yes, but we could have done so much better, if we hadn’t been held back by our Coalition partners.”
“What would you have done?”
“Well, it’s a major issue, but one thing I do know is that the Tories are useless.”

Then he goes up to a UKIP politician.
“What do you have to say about the immigration figures?”
“They’re shocking. The Tories are useless.”
“What would you do?”

This left the journo very depressed. The only party to suggest anything was UKIP, and they’re suggestion was… well, very UKIP.

Friday 22nd May
Oh, to be in Riga, now that spring is here! It’s the perfect destination for romance, history, and tentative renegotiations of Britain’s relationship with the European Union. So it is that David Cameron, who loves a holiday, has gone there for a spot of all three of those.

It’s the first stage, which sees the PM mount a charm offensive. He says that there will be "lots of noise, lots of ups and downs along the way", which sounds pretty typical for a Cameron charm offensive. Later he says he was “not met with a wall of love”. Really? Him? How extraordinary?

Eric Pickles, meanwhile, is to be knighted. Recently ousted from government, Sir Eric has become the anti-corruption tsar, which begs a question: why would you call the person in charge of tackling corruption a tsar? 

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

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Weekly Diary - May 11th to May 15th

Chuk on. Chuk off.

Monday 11th May
The morning after the earthquake before. As the aftermath of the extraordinary election sinks in across the political spectrum, the Prime Minister reshuffles his ministerial team. Politicos love a Reshuffle: it’s like a post-election night cap.

He tweets on the position of Boris Johnson:

So, he attends the Political Cabinet, but Mr Cameron leaves speculation open as to whether he shall attend the Drinks Cabinet.

Grant Shapps has been demoted from Conservative Party Chairman to Minister of State for International Development. Which is odd because his Wikipedia page declares him to be KING OF ALL HERTFORDSHIRE!

Ed Miliband, meanwhile, is on holiday in Ibiza, where he will no doubt resume his hinterland career as a major clubber and DJ. No word on Nick Clegg, who presumably is still taking a decision on whether to laugh or cry.

Elsewhwere, UKIP’s National Executive has rejected Nigel Farage’s resignation. Yes – on the third day, he did indeed rise again, and it is the Return of the Gurn. On Victoria Derbyshire this morning, Farage said that he was "enjoying life much more" having resigned. He must be devastated by this turn of events.

David Miliband has given an interview to the BBC which criticised his brother’s election approach. Some may think that this is ripe for the old Miliband of Brothers jokes, but I don’t wish to take this diary back to 2010. We need to build on the old jokes and move forward.

Tuesday 12th May
The Downing Street Press Corps have a problem. They cannot see a new person coming down the street without shouting a question at them. As the government reshuffle continues, they’ll be in the middle of a live broadcast, when they’ll suddenly turn and shout “Do you know what you’ve got?”

Do they do this all the time? Do they suddenly interrupt al fresco lunches by turning to a passer-by and shouting “Where did you get those shoes?”

The Labour leadership contest is gathering pace. With Liz Kendall having declared over the weekend, Chuka Umunna has announced his candidacy today via a guerrilla-style video on Facebook. Chuka comes from Streatham (yay!), but worked as a solicitor in the City of London (boo!), and thereby can expect a visit from the Un-lefty Activities Committee.

Wednesday 13th May
The Ed-Stone has apparently been discovered by The Guardian’s Patrick Wintour:

Journalists have rushed there, but a Mr H. Jones, popularly known as Indy, has struck a note of caution, suggesting that “they’re digging in the wrong place”.

The Tories have decided to unveil their controversial plans to tackle extremism. It’s all rather foggy, but Theresa May says the bill will target “those who are out there actively trying to promote this hatred and intolerance which can lead to division in our society and undermines our British values.”
On that description, this bill is potentially fatal for the 1922 Committee of Conservative Backbenchers.

Thursday 14th May
UKIP is on fire.

Since Nigel Farage’s unresignation he has got into a terrible row with his only MP over the £650,000 of short money he’s entitled to. This featured Douglas Carswell achieving the logical end of his political career by rebelling against himself.

Now, the knives are out. Patrick O’Flynn, who ran UKIP’s General Election campaign, has described Farage as a “snarling, thin-skinned, aggressive” man who is making UKIP look like a “personality cult”. Perhaps the pinnacle of the coverage of this came when the BBC’s Norman Smith tried to report the “personality cult” bit and missed by one letter, committing the “Jeremy Hunt, Culture Secretary” gaffe.

In an attempt to pour oil on the waters, Mr Carswell has announced that he will not be resigning his own whip and becoming an independent, declaring that he is “passionately UKIP”.

So, given UKIP’s recent history, we can expect him to be gone within three days. Which is a shame because, controversial though he is, he seems to be the only UKIPer who isn’t a total cult.

Friday 15th May
A shock today as Chuka Umunna dropped out of the Labour leadership race, citing discomfort at the scrutiny such a step takes. Which is a bit like Usain Bolt quitting 2 yards into a 100 metre dash, saying “I didn’t realise it would be this fast”.

Of course, the press had branded him as the “UK’s Obama”, having noticed several similarities between the two. Such as him being not white, and… being subject to nuanced media profiles. Now, the tabloids are devastated by the move. Sure, they get to use headlines like “Chuk-ed it”, “Umunna-and-ahh-ing”, and “Chuk Off” tomorrow. However, if he’d become leader, they could have done that for five years at least.

The Tories, meanwhile, are delighted with the news, as Mr Umunna was the one they feared. Now people are talking about a Labour leadership election re-occurring in 2018. Two years earlier than they expected: well, that’s progress.

Nick Clegg has been sighted, in a pub in Sheffield, doing to his liver what the country did to him:

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

Friday, May 8, 2015

Election Diary - Day 40: Solved

Thursday 7th May
The polls have closed and the exit polls are in, and it’s good news for David Cameron. Sort of. They are projected to have increased their seats, but still ten short of a majority. With a return of the Coalition, they would have a majority of two.
It looks like terrible news for Ed Miliband, as he has posted a poorer result than Gordon Brown, but it could be worse. He could be Nick Clegg. It is unclear as to whether he’s held his seat, but his party has been hammered after late predictions they maybe the surprise of election night.
Well, they are. In a way.
The SNP have swamped Scotland by the looks of things, whilst the nation holds it breath to see if Nigel Farage has won South Thanet, as UKIP are predicted two seats.

Paddy Ashdown has said he’ll eat his hat if the exit poll is true, but he has sent out for a hat. Which would suggest that he’s trying to regain trust in the Lib Dems by making a ridiculous promise and keeping it.

A different Exit Poll by YouGov has suggested a milder result, more in keeping with the recent opinion polls. Labour are trumpeting it to the lowlands and the highlands, though not so much to the Highlands.

Now Alastair Campbell has promised to eat his kilt if the predictions for Scotland are correct. Even after the polls have closed, the parties are out-pledging each other. However, this one I really do want carved in stone.

Cameron is hoping and praying that the omens are true, and ringing up Boris to see how the Romans interpreted auguries. Ed Miliband is in disbelief. Nick Clegg is drinking. Nigel Farage is drunk as a Lord, and working out which UKIPers should go to the House of Drunks. Sorry – of Lords.
Meanwhile, somewhere in Manhattan, David Miliband is desperately resisting the urge to call his brother.

Friday 8th May
Whatever happened to Lembit Opik? Because he was a Lib Dem who lost his seat catastrophically before it was fashionable.

Neil Kinnock makes an appearance, looking harrowed and shaken. Basically like a man who is experiencing terrible flashbacks to 1992.
Meanwhile, the Lib Dems, who have lost £2,000 on deposits so far (after 8 seats declared) have tweeted “Thank you to our members & volunteers - who give their time and money to make our society fairer & freer”. The emphasis very much on the money part.

The decapitations begin, and it is the rather nice Douglas Alexander who is the first to go. He was defeated by a 20 year-old student. The SNP swing is huge, but the victor is most courteous to Alexander’s defeat, and Alexander returns the compliment. It is worth saying that a lot of good people will be cut down by the electorate’s scythe across the UK. No doubt good people will be returned, but good people will go.

Rumours have been circling that Ed “Ed Balls” Balls’ seat is too close to call. Labour say that the news on this seat is “all Balls”. (I’m keeping that joke in because, if he loses, I won’t be able to make Balls jokes anymore).

Reports are rife that Labour have gained a seat from George Galloway. Oh dear. If only he’d dressed up as a cat. Still, I bet that pub he threatened with closure is having the most awesome lock-in right now. (He lost to Labour at 6.08am.)

Alastair Carmichael, the Scottish Secretary, is re-elected, but this raises a question: if the Tories form the next government, who could they possible propose as a Scottish Secretary? The only eligible Scot would be Michael Gove (MP for Surrey Heath). Good luck with that.

Boris Johnson is an MP again, and gives his acceptance speech flanked by two loonies (actual, Loony Candidates that is – not members of his campaign). He is delighted that Britain has rejected a return to the 1970s, but is disappointed that it hasn’t endorsed a return to the 1870s

Vince Cable loses his seat, and he is the real symbol of the collapse of the Lib Dems. 6 years ago he was the most trusted politician in Britain. Now the Business Secretary is out of business. Lib Dem losses were expected, but this is beyond their worst nightmares. Nick Clegg is quaking in his vulnerable boots.

Nick Clegg arrives for his declaration, with a face (and there’s no other way of putting this) like a slapped arse on a dreadful night for his party.
He holds his seat, but to what end? The rumours are that he will look to quit politics “altogether”. He talks of giving remarks on his leadership and the devastating national picture in the morning. The man who took a brave decision five years ago is now walking into a totally different sort of rose garden.

Ed Miliband holds his seat, with a significant swing to UKIP, and he delivers the closest thing to an American-style concession speech. He looks like Michael Dukakis, if Dukakis had a big stone he had to find a buyer for.

David Cameron holds his Witney seat, and praises the response to the "positive Conservative campaign”. He kept that quiet.

There is no denying that this has been an extraordinary, staggering night. The SNP rules Scotland, but David Cameron is destined for Number 10, which makes those of us who were wondering how on earth you cover undisclosed coalition discussions on a satirical blog relieved that we don’t have to keep doing this for yet more days.
The return of a Tory government is no doubt good news for…………… HSBC?
It is undoubtedly bad news for Paddy Ashdown, who is obliged (by oral contract) to eat a hat live on television. If he doesn't, the Lib Dems will lose all credibility.
Oh, wait... hang on a minute. (For what it's worth, he refused to eat the hat in the morning.)
I would like to end on this note. No doubt, this has been a bruising night not just for the Lib Dems but also for the passionate supporters of many parties. It must be noted that, on a night of many decapitations, victorious MPs have sought to give credit to their defeated predecessors where credit is due.
And that is something which much be treasured, and not satirised.

“It’s all looking surprisingly simple, isn’t it Liz?” said Philip.
“Indeed,” replied Her Majesty. “Still, it always does from my perpective.”

She turns to Sir Christopher Geidt, her Private Secretary, and says: “Call Sir Humphrey would you? I have some instructions.”

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

Very many thanks to everyone who read and enjoyed. The Diaries will return.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Election Diary - Day 39: Polling Day

Thursday 7th May
It is Polling Day, and owing to strict broadcast regulations, there is no coverage of the campaigns until polls close. The BBC explains that “Coverage will be restricted to uncontroversial factual accounts, such as the appearance of politicians at polling stations or the weather.”
So, here is that coverage.

The weather is cloudy. People, including Ed Miliband, Nigel Farage and Natalie Bennett have been casting their votes.

It’s brightened up a bit. People, including David Cameron and Nicola Sturgeon have been casting their votes.

The sun properly came out a moment ago, but there’s a cloud over it at the moment, which is a shame, or not depending on your point-of-view. People have been casting their votes. No famous people though.

It’s a lovely day now. People, including Nick Clegg, have been casting their votes. The Warner Brothers have been casting their couch.

It’s a day of waiting and sleeping for the party leaders. To be fair to them, they have been non-stop for almost 40 days and are cream-crackered.
Right now, David Cameron is fast asleep, Nick Clegg is as asleep as the dead and Ed Miliband Is too excited to sleep. Nigel Farage, meanwhile, is on a nap sponsored by Famous Grouse.

Some “Milibandits” have done this to David Cameron’s Wikipedia page. 
At least they claim to be Milibandits. It might have been Grant Shapps.

As the sun begins to set, the party leaders are stirring.
“What time is it?” asked David Cameron.
“Coming up to quarter-past eight darling,” said Samantha.
“Going back to bed. This would be far too early for me on a good day.

“What time is it?” asked Nick Clegg.
“Coming up to quarter-past eight darling,” said Miriam.
“Oh, God. I hoped I’d sleep through the horror of it all.”

“What time is it?” asked Justine Miliband.
“Coming up to quarter-past eight darling,” said Ed. “105 minutes until the exit poll!”
“Then why the hell did you wake me up?”

It is pandemonium at the BBC, as they organise interviews to fill time between the exit poll and the actual results.
“We’ve got a problem,” shouts the editor. “There’s a five minute slot which isn’t filled yet. Nothing’s going to be said. Dimbleby’s just going to have to fill time.”
“Don’t worry. Maybe he’ll just get lost in the middle of a sentence and try to fill it with waffling, and if he gets lost then we can bring Robert Peston on to say words at half their normal speed. Failing that, we’ll go to the Swingometer.”
“Remember,” the editor insists, “We must call it the “Brand New Swingometer”, to make it sound more exciting.”
“Have we made it more comprehensible though?”
“No: less than ever!”

The polls are getting ready to close, and the party leaders are in an unenviable position now. In their living rooms, they are sat waiting and waiting for those all important exit polls, which will give the best indication of how their fate has been sealed.
Will it be a hung parliament? Will someone sneak a majority? Has Clegg held his seat? Will Farage become an MP? Will the SNP take every seat in Scotland? And how will the numbers add up for a potential government? The excitement is palpable. So much so that Lord Kinnock is warming up his vocal chords for a “We’re alright!”

We will probably have a very good idea in half-an-hour. The party leaders, though, will know any second now…

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

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Election Diary - Day 38: Over to You

Wednesday 6th May
“I’m so tired Samantha,” said David Cameron, who was now more caffeine than man.
“I know darling, but why did you have to wake me up?”
“I’ve just been to a supermarket.”
“Did you remember the milk?”
“No. I was meeting people on the night shift, but I was so knackered. I just looked at the food and said “Oh, I like turnips”. I can’t go on like this.”
“Come here, darling,” said Samantha as she embraced him. “It’s just one more day of campaigning to go, and then a few weeks of wrangling before they kick you out of office and we can all go back to Oxfordshire.”
“I almost want that at this stage.”
“Really darling?”
He paused. “No. Not really. I like power.”

For Ed Miliband, the marathon of a lifetime is almost over. Yesterday, footage emerged of the young Labour Leader as a student politician in Oxford from ITV local news, and now he is just two days away from perhaps becoming Prime Minister.
However, curiously he was known as Ted Miliband. Clearly this was before his mega makeover. Just look at this before and after.
Unrecognisable. But they are the same man, I swear it. After all, both Ed and Ted are fans of posing for the cameras in front of a background of stone.
As for David Cameron, his days at Oxford have been delved into a little further, with the discovery of this photo.
Yes, it’s a hitherto undiscovered Bullingdon Club photo. Which begs the question: did Cameron refuse to pose for any photos at University when not in white tie? Ted was clearly preparing for a career in politics whilst at Oxford. Dave appears to have been preparing for a role in Upstairs, Downstairs.

Telling looks in the eyes of the leaders today. Ed Miliband looks a little bit like a rabbit in headlights, terrified of screwing up at this late stage. David Cameron looks wired on all manner of stimulants. Meanwhile, Nick Clegg has the eyes of a hermit who knows he is soon to pass to a better place.
Talking of zealots, Nigel Farage is wandering through Kent as if he has had a revelation, chanting: “These shy-kippers: they’re real.”
People have been needlessly cynical about the notion of shy-kippers. It’s not that shy-kippers are embarrassed – what would they have to be embarrassed about? It’s that they are just very quiet about their opinions.
I mean, even Robert Blay, UKIP Candidate for North East Hampshire, is very shy about his opinions. Only in private would he reveal that he dislikes the idea of his Tory opponent (Ranil Jayawardena) becoming the first Asian PM so much that he would “personally put a bullet between [Mr Jayawardena]’s eyes”. How timid, but it turned out that the person he revealed this to was journalist for the Daily Mirror. The party has suspended him. If only he’d been even shier.

Harriet Harman has made a late, bold statement of belief in an attempt to convince the voters to trust Labour and vote for them.
She says, and I quote: “Telling lies is a bad thing.”
Like I said, bold.

The diary has noted the dire warnings the parties put out about their opponents being elected. This is as nothing compared to what their supporters are saying and doing.
We have seen Eddie Izzard and Jim Murphy attacked by aggressive protestors in Glasgow. Tory MP Charlotte Leslie’s family has been attacked, with 1,300 litres of oil spilt out onto her parents’ lawn. Throughout the campaign we have seen former Conservative MP Louise Mensch viciously bully the founder of #Milifandom, and there have been more than a few instances of violence involving UKIP. Social media is rife with hatred on all sides, and if anyone is brave enough to state what they think in a civilised way they are liable to be attacked, as actor Tom Conti found today having written an article about switching from Labour to Tory.
As the campaigning stops officially for the parties, it carries on with their supporters on Facebook and Twitter. Not all, but far too many of the same people who have bemoaned negative campaigning in politics, will tell their “Friends” and “Followers” that to vote for the party they disagree with is at best foolish, and at worst downright disgusting.

When support for the parties is evenly split it seems particularly stupid to hold to the belief that people who vote differently are either foolish or an accessory to evil. It is like walking into a room and deciding that two-thirds of the people there are in league with Satan. It is barely above the rhetoric of the Westboro Baptist Church.

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

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Election Diary: Day 37 - Battlebuses of Fire

Tuesday 5th March
There are two days to go, and the party leaders, who have singularly failed to make any impact on the polls during this campaign, know that if anything is to change it’s going to require an alteration of tactics.
So, they have decided to see who can cover the most distance. Yes, it’s Battlebuses of Fire, as David Cameron is looking at doing the whole country in 36 hours, and Nick Clegg is trying to go from Land’s End to John O’Groats in two days.
Yeah, that’ll crack it.

Intriguing revelations about theTory campaign in this morning’s Guardian. David Cameron’s office on the Tory battlebus is known severally as the “love pod”, the “power pod” and the “boss box”. Presumably, it is known as the love pod when Samantha’s on board, the power pod when he’s doing Prime Ministering, and the boss box when he’s chillaxing with a bit of Bruce Springsteen.

The Ed Stone just won’t go away. Lucy Powell, Labour’s Campaign Vice Chair, said on BBC Radio Five Live this morning: “I don’t think anyone is suggesting that the fact that he’s carved them into stone means, you know, means that he will absolutely, you know, not going to break them or anything like that.”
But the whole point of the stone is that it’s in stone. If we can’t trust a stone, who can we trust? Still, who can blame her for getting into a muddle, when she was trying to swim with that bloody thing tied to her feet?

Time to think of the voters, who are of course the most important people in a democracy, right up until the polls close on Thursday night.
All of us have, of course, been involved in the so-called Ground War: the push to win actual votes on local issues. Or have we? I have been speaking with a wide variety of friends, and none of them have actually been visited by any candidates. I haven’t.
I have only received three leaflets, two of which came from the same candidate, Mark Field (Conservative). In the first one, he said he was tackling “aggressive begging”, and in the second he said he was “speaking up for the homeless”. Right…
The other leaflet came from the UKIP candidate. I don’t know what it says when UKIP (who came fourth here last time with 664 votes) have done more to try and engage with me than Labour and the Lib Dems.
This experience has been widely repeated amongst my friends who live in constituencies across the country. Still, it could be worse. We could live in Buckingham where, owing to Parliamentary convention, Labour and the Lib Dems are not running because the Conservative candidate is John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons (he runs not as a Tory but as Speaker Seeking Re-Election).
Today, Mr Bercow has spoken of why this is actually beneficial to his constituents: “There is a flip side of the coin and that is that the Speaker has great access to ministers and gets a deluxe service from ministers in whatever government”.
Well, having spent £20,659 of Parliament’s money on refurbishing the Speaker’s apartments, including the essential DVD Player and Large Screen TV, we can safely say that no one knows deluxe service like John Bercow.

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

Monday, May 4, 2015

Election Diary: Day 36 - Milibandias Endorsed by Spark Notes Anarchist

Monday 4th May
Ed Milibandias (you can trust him – he bought a stone) is on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme. First up, it is the problem of a Labour government needing SNP support.
EM: Well, I want to put a Labour Queen’s Speech before the House of Commons, and I want to get a Labour majority for that Queen’s Speech.
John Humphrys: And you will need support to do that. You will need support from the Scottish National Party.
EM: There’s a very big bird out there.
John Humphrys: We’re in a radio studio in the middle of a building, Ed.
EM: What’s your name?
John Humphrys: It’s John. You know that.
EM: It’s a very important point you raise John, and let me tell you why I won’t be addressing it.
And on it goes.
By the end, Ed is fending off questions about the MiliStone. Humphrys says “A lot of people have laughed about it. Of course they have.”
“Well,” rejoinders Ed, “it’s got people talking.”

Problems for David Cameron this morning, and it’s not just having to work on a Bank Holiday.
Lord Scriven, a Lib Dem ally of Nick Clegg’s, has suggested that Dave told Nick privately that he couldn’t win a majority. Clegg won’t comment on whether this took place, and Cameron claims that he can win a majority. It is a pity that Dave didn’t admit that this conversation took place, as he would then have been a shoo-in for the 2015 No Shit Sherlock Award.

Russell Brand has told his band of non-voters to, well, vote. In a new video entitled “Emergency: VOTE To Start Revolution”. He has endorsed Labour and Ed Miliband in the General Election, having endorsed the Greens in Brighton last week).
The video begins with a summary of Brand’s “Politics Week”, where he has a go at the view of migrants as being a detriment to the economy (where evidence suggests otherwise), before going on to endorse a man who yesterday stood in front of a monolith which pledges in the vaguest possible way: “Controls on immigration”. And we know it will happen, because it’s on a stone.
Then there is an extra bit of the MiliBrand interview (a General Synod of the High Priests of Vague Catchphrases), and it’s Return of the Mockney, as Miliband says “You need a banking system… now, it’s gotta be done in the right way, and it’s gotta be fair”.
After the interview is over, Brand whole-heartedly backs Miliband. “What I heard Ed Miliband say is that if we speak, he will listen.” Very trusting, and no surprise. After all, the man bought a stone.
Expect thousands of revolutionaries to descend on polling stations on Thursday, before discovering that they have to register to vote.
So, Miliband has the questionable endorsement of a multi-millionaire pseudo-anarchist, who has hitherto told people not to vote. Not to worry, because they also have the endorsement of Alan Partridge. Well, Steve Coogan actually, who joins the list of celebs who are backing Labour.
Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Eddie Izzard, Stephen Fry, Stephen Hawking, David Morrissey, Patrick Stewart, Jo Brand, Janet Street-Porter, Ronnie O'Sullivan, David Tennant, Grayson Perry, Paul O'Grady, Jason Isaacs, Michelle Collins, Mathew Horne, Ben Elton, and Delia have all endorsed Ed Miliband, which means he now has more celebrity endorsements than Labour MPs who wanted him to be leader. It looks less like a campaign, and more like the invite list for a garden party.
The Conservatives, meanwhile, have an interesting array of endorsements. Can you spot the odd one out? Michael Bloomberg (American businessman and politician), Bob Dudley (American businessman), Tidjane Thiam (French-Ivorian businessman and former politician), Ron Dennis (businessman), Charles Dunstone (businessman), George Iacobescu (businessman), Stuart Rose (businessman), Paul S. Walsh, (businessman).
So, did you spot the odd one?
No, me neither.

The parties will be putting out their last broadcasts over the next few days, and they are trying to clarify the choice. The Conservatives assure us that if they are not elected it will lead to unprecedented apocalyptic chaos. Labour assure us that if they are not elected it will lead to unprecedented apocalyptic chaos.
The choice is indeed clear. It is disaster, or catastrophe. You all make up your own minds, but I look forward to Friday morning, and awaking in the land of Beelzebub.

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