Published: 8 April 2010
ELECTION DIARY by RICHARD OSLEY
• GLENDA Jackson is not retiring. End of. She was outraged on Tuesday morning when The Times’ political correspondent Sam Coates suggested she could be on a list of Labour MPs aged over 65 who would announce plans to step down even at this late stage in the game. Within hours of this being published, she was on the phone to Coates, a prolific blogger, to put him straight in no uncertain terms. “I’m not a walking by-election, and nor does my doctor think so. I find this comment quite deeply offensive,” she told him. Glenda, maybe unfairly, has a reputation for being slightly tetchy with hacks who cross her. I’d have loved to have heard how the full phone call played out.
• A PHOTO of Conservative candidate Chris Philp with a gaggle of senior Tory helpers taken by Tom Foot, my colleague on the election newsdesk, has become something of an internet sensation. Thousands have logged on to see it online with bloggers and Twitterers rushing to shout: ”Look behind you!” Chris and his friends, you see, were snapped standing in front of an estate agent’s board reading: Camerons Stiff and Co. Private Eye couldn’t resist reproducing it this week, while the online community have dubbed it Philp’s “Nicola Murray moment” after the government minister in the hit comedy The Thick Of It who unwittingly stands in front of a poster spelling out “I Am Bent”.
• ANOTHER Times columnist, David Aaronovitch (above), also got an election buttonholing on Tuesday. As our picture shows, Chris Philp made sure he was up to date with local Conservative election literature after they bumped into each other outside Hampstead underground station. The author stopped for a brief chat but as he departed, even the ever-optimistic Philp suggested Aaronovitch – a writer who has not always had the kindest comments for Glenda Jackson – was not somebody he expected to help vote him to victory on May 6.
• TAMSIN Omond, the “eco-suffragette” or “eco-bunny” depending on what national newspaper you read, has enlisted the help of Agent Provocateur model Daisy Lowe to help her out in her bid to upset the applecart in Hampstead and Kilburn. Lowe, daughter of musician Pearl Lowe, totters around in high heels clearing up rubbish in Belsize Park during a campaign YouTube video. “Vote for Tamsin,” she then yells through a cornet. “Make her Prime Minister already.” Still, it will surely get more hits than campaign vids made by all those candidates in suits.
• A ZILLION wags have pointed this one out. The Lib Dems think it’s a silly point – but was Nick Clegg wise to drive his shiny new battle bus out of the garage for the first time on the same day that his party announced they want to divert cash from the roads budget to the rail network? Gordon Brown, the next day, was all smiles as he did what Clegg might have done and let the train take the strain on a trip to visit businesses in Rochester, leaving late after he and his wife were mobbed by well-wishers at St Pancras International.