Wednesday, May 04, 2005

To London and beyond

A programme I had never heard of- the Desk BBC4 -asked me to take part in a discussion in London. I didn't gather too many details, but I was to discuss something to do with MPs wifery with Michael Cockrell so I siezed the opportunity for a twenty four hour escape.

Arrived in London late on the night of the bank holiday. My sister from Oz was staying in our flat and had been there a while. It didn't feel like our flat at all. I had removed most of our lying about stuff before the election started (a golden opportunity) and she had replaced it with all the paraphenalia of a woman alone. Half empty wine bottles, pink razors.

Got up early to visit my London pool. Lovely. No one else there. London looks quiet, or my bit of it does. At five forty five am the battle of Victoria Street was getting underway. Tory HQ and Labour HQ both had police guards and early young suits with damp hair were chatting outside.

The Desk happens at Channel 4. Wasn't my kind of thing. They were all style gurus. Had a mild disagreement in the greenroom with Michael re the importance of Iraq and "lying" He was very involved in the detail, and the terrible effects on Blair. I suggested that his view was metropolitan eletism and these things didn't play too much in the constituency. Quoted poll Iraq only 11th on issues running order. This annoyed the producer who thought I was accusing her show of metropolitan eletism. I was. She pointed out brusquely that she lived in Cheshire! (ME's only northern outpost!)

Found myself during the programme supporting Blair vociferously. Well that's a first. Maybe 4 weeks in the constituency have addled my brain, but feel that "everyone I know is voting Lib Dem" is a London phenomenon exaggerated by journalists who are the real swingers.

Watched Channel 4 news last night. Blair seemed to me very patient as Jon Snow pressed him again and again about Iraq and the detail. This endless picking at Labour's damaged bits works in Blair's favour as far as I am concerned. I just get more sympathetic.

BUT I don't want another big majority. Blair is at his worst when he escapes from the people and the parliament and he won't be able to do that if he's down to sixty or so. Suspect that's what everybody wants and the real problem is how to deliver such a precise punishment in a first past the post system.

Intense pleasure from The House Magazine. Sir Patrick Cormack's campaign diary describing his rural idyll in South Staffordshire - nodding daffs, leaping lambs, verdant pastures, made even more poignant because in his constituency the election has beeen cancelled. Owing to the death of a candidate they have to wait twenty eight days and have a By- election. Even BBM (who is very nervous and jumpy and not really with us any more) smiled at the prospect of Patrick locked out of his office and unable to perform his duties as the Parliamentary Malvolio.

Just as the light was fading and BBM and I were working away in the downstairs office, there was a click and a sort of whine and the power failed. I was just about to email BBM's views on school closures to a journalist on the local paper when everything switched off. Went out to the front gate to peer into the dusk and was met by the extrodinary sight of young men appearing in pain at every front door. Power seems to be out for several blocks and right in the middle of Chelsea versus Liverpool. After ten minutes of agitation and misery most male residents (BBM excluded of course) set out to find the nearest pub where the power is on. I find a box of Sainsbury's night lights and hand them out in lit saucersful to young women from the flats next door. Bloody girl guide says BBM. Power comes on just before the Desk is due to begin on BBC4. Don't watch. Suspect I may have been the victim of a judicial revue of the contents.

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