Friday, May 07, 2004

Cleaning up London - or at least Bishopsgate

Just got back from the launch of Simon Hughes's campaign. Lucky for me I work in the City (which is part of the constituency I am campaigning in) and so was able to pop along to Fleur-de-Lis Street near Bishopsgate to see the PR stunt he pulled.

Decked out in a white builder's suit, he picked up a high-powered water gun and started cleaning the graffiti off the side of the wall. But instead of all the paint coming off, only that which spelled out 'Simon says: Actions speak louder than words' was removed. It reminded me of those photos taken of Margaret Thatcher running around St James's Park, collecting rubbish which had been deliberately left there.

And I also wondered whether he would be willing to deploy his new skills cleaning the wall opposite my flat. Well I can dream, can't I?

We then went across the street to the Light Bar for the press conference, where Chris Rennard, the party chief exec and master campaign tactician, Sarah Ludford and Lynne Featherstone joined him for questions.

Most of the questions seemed to deal with the mathematical possibility of Simon winning; explaining why this isn't a normal first-past-the-post election must be getting tedious.

Ken Livingstone won't win more than 50% of the first preferences and therefore be elected outright. Chances are the second preferences for both him and Steve Norris will favour Simon, which is where he could come through. And Simon refused to be drawn on who his first preference voters should place their second choice.

Why is it the media always obsess about the election prospects of Lib Dems and tactical voting? Perhaps that's why we over-compensate with bags of policies in our manifestos...

Useful for me, before I went back to work we managed to click off a few photos of me with both Lynne and Simon - those should be helpful in later literature.

No doubt I'll get more this weekend: tomorrow Simon and I will be in Barking and Newham, pressing the flesh and attending some meetings. Oh, the joys of being a candidate!

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