The Daily Dust delivering the best bric a brac, daily news and events with a British flavour » Columnists Mon, 15 Sep 2014 09:05:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Jools Holland could earn the UK douze points Fri, 12 Nov 2010 14:28:26 +0000 Ewan Would the BBC’s musical maestro really be a good idea for Eurovision?

I certainly think so, and it’s an argument I’ve made over the Eurovision discussion website But not as the singer who takes to the stage in melodic combat with the germans next May, but as the Guru/mentor in the background.

It even takes care of how to run the National Final! There’s bound to be sixteen good bands and singers out there that want to have a crack at Eurovision. The worrying point has always been how respectable it makes them look. Well if you take four a week into the “Later… With” studio, have them perform their song and chat to Jools afterwards, throw in a visiting Eurovision star (a Niamh Kavanagh and Jools Holland guest spot anyone?) and a simple “Vote now by SMS” caption at the end of each show and you have your four heats and a final, a winning song, a wonderful affirming National Final, and a way to send all the right signals about how serious the BBC are taking the 2011 contest.

More thoughts at ESC Insight.

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When will our leaders return to lead on the field of battle? Mon, 01 Nov 2010 14:40:15 +0000 Ewan We need our leaders to get into international sports, just like Iran.

In the olden days, when there was a problem between countries, a was usually sorted it out. Given that the leaders of the countries usuallly fought on the front lines, this happened les often than you might think – leaders usually like to stay in power rather than be buried six foot under.

We’ve lost that little touch of diplomacy in recent times, but I think some people are trying to bring it back, as Mahoud Ahmadinejad and Evo Morales squared up to each other at an Iran v Boliva football match last week (reports the BBC).

With the 2012 Olympics coming up, Boris Johnson can do more than wave the flag. Shall we let him loose with a Javelin? And if Nick Clegg is a demon footballer, that might explain the coalition with David Cameron and the 2014 World Cup.

Which sports do you think need to have their leaders at the front with the Captain’s armband?

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Why is BBC Alba not in the least popular TV channels list? Tue, 26 Oct 2010 08:27:22 +0000 Ewan BrokenTV’s look at bad channels misses out BBC Alba, because BBC Alba won‘t join in the rating game.

Ho-ho-ho, I thought, it’s the worst performing TV stations in a Ceefax box! Broken TV have looked at the viewing figures and decided to have some fun. Look, it’s VH-1 with only 6,900 viewers… or Sky Arts 2 on just 9,733.

And then it dawned on me. Where was the great experiment from the BBC? Where was the mythically magnificent BBC Alba? It’s not in the Bottom 30? Really?

After all this is the station that launched to 615,000 viewers and says it’s on 270,000 viewers one year later in September 2010. That would place it as number 32 in the UK, just behind Sky News and slightly ahead of the Disney Channel.


Here’s the catch. BBC Alba isn’t part of the nationally recognised method of counting TV viewers, BARB. Alba say that the distribution of the channel in the North of Scotland, specifically the islands of Scotland, aren’t covered by BARB. So telephone polling has to suffice.

How about some back-up with numbers on the iPlayer to show a relative share or interest? Nope, those numbers aren’t available either. Just the headline number from TNS System 3.

I’ve watched BBC Alba just twice – when my beloved Cowdenbeath FC were in the SPL Division One Promotional Play-off. I screened out the Gaelic commentator, I just wanted to watch the football.

For the record, there are around 50,000 Gaelic speakers in Scotland, just a fifth of the numbers that are allegedly watching Alba.  Many suspect the majority of Alba’s “strong” viewers are from watching football. But is there a breakdown by time or programme? Nope. It’s just a telephone survey like the political press call up every week.

Unlike every other channel, its impossible to compare BBC Alba to other channels. Iain Hepburn summed it all up very nicely at The Daily Record last month year:

There’s still no way of knowing just how many people actually watch Alba, and more specifically, what they watch. An Alba spokesman confirmed to me they have, through the polling and panels, an idea of what the most popular genres are. But again, there’s no breakdown. It’s just that – genres. The channel can say sport and music are popular, but they can’t – or won’t – be more specific than that.

And that gives rise to a whole host of other questions. Is the channel being shored up by its SPL, rugby and Alba Cup coverage? Is the audience spiking during sports coverage and flat the rest of the time? How much audience retention does it actually enjoy? This is stuff we could find out about any other channel in the country, pretty much – and certainly any other BBC channel. But not Alba.

So while we applaud Broken TV’s look at the worst UK TV channels (and admire the Ceefax graphics), part of me is thinking – these might be bad, but I know that BBC Alba is missing.

And so, I suspect, do the BBC.

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Why sport should embrace the illegal stream Fri, 22 Oct 2010 09:11:01 +0000 Ewan Here’s a simple question. If you’re a fan of a sport, and you want to watch it online, you’re going to watch it, no matter the source.

If there’s an easy to find official way to watch online, then that’s going to be the first port of call. What the sports industry needs to make sure is that when people look online, they (a) find the stream they want and (b) the industry is getting something from that view, be it a small subscription fee or in-vision advertising.

What the industry need to watch out for is to not make the mistakes that other areas of the media have done and ignore the issue till the viewers are trained to “find free"– the genie is already out of the bottle and more people every day are finding free content of their favourite sport.

By protecting the income from the TV Fees from players such as Sky in the UK, the different sporting regulators are still gorging themselves, but all that cash is suddenly going to disappear in the future as viewing figures switch to online sources. When Sky and their ilk realise they have to get into the online subscription game, the users are not going to be expecting to pay, and they’ll stay on the illegal streams.

What UK sport needs to do is look at how Baseball in the US has a full online subscription service, airing every match, at, even though Baseball is a huge draw on TV. Because if they go the legal route and slap down a few people, the majority of people will never experience a problem, and the same problem the music and film industry is in now will happen to sport.

Hat tip to the BBC.

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Why it’s the camera you have that’s important Sun, 12 Sep 2010 08:26:37 +0000 Ewan London skyline at sunset a timely reminder of the power of the camera phone.

While there are people that go out with the expensive equipment to capture the landscapes, cityscapes, the natural world and the scars of humanity on the Earth, the last few years have seen an explosion in fantastic picture from around the world.

And it’s the mobile phone that’s the reason. Because the most important camera is the one that you have in your pocket at the moment in time.

I was reminded about this yet again while checking in on my Facebook stream, with Gemma Goggins’ picture of an almost perfect line-up of the Sun, the Thames and one of the bridges over the great waterway.

Long ago it would be a case of “ooh that’s nice”, now it’s “ooh that’s nice, let’s show everyone.” And that’s all own to the mobile phone handing everyone a camera in their pocket.

Have you got a favourite impromptu snap?

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Is this the Free Fringe’s Peter Buckley-Hill, or actor Jonathan Pryce? Sat, 28 Aug 2010 20:29:06 +0000 Ewan Has anyone seen both PBH and Pryce in the same room during the Edinburgh Fringe?

Spooky coincidence or global conspiracy? You decide, because our man at the Fringe is wondering if the ravishing smooth good looks of Jonathan Pryce are going through a Jekyll and Hyde transformation in August to create the manic and driven organiser of the Free Fringe in the shape of Peter Buckley-Hill.

I think I need to ask Harry Tuttle.

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How great was James Hunt? Tue, 10 Aug 2010 14:33:00 +0000 Ewan Is there a reason to celebrate James Hunt, the British F1 champion of 1976? Nope. That’s why we are!

Try to describe someone who’s typically British and I doubt you’d find a better person than James Hunt. A national class tennis and squash player, his move to motor racing in a period when up to one in five drivers would die before the end of each season appealed to his sense of adventure and danger.

His was an unconventional route into Formula 1 via Lord Hesketh’s F1 team (which was more a hobby than anything) but the impressive showing led to a drive for McLaren. Six victories later and he was world champion.

Although it’s more a case that Nikki Lauda lost it than Hunt won it, they became best of friends off track.

Retiring shortly afterwards, F1 called him back as the BBC placed him next to Murray Walker to create a golden commentary team that has yet to be beaten by any British broadcaster carrying Formula 1. And he never let people forget which drivers he bore a grudge against.

James Hunt died of a heart attack in 1993, shortly after proposing to his long term girlfriend. He was 43, and was British through and through.

Want more reading? Try Connecting Rod.

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We’re back with a new summer look for The Daily Dust Tue, 20 Jul 2010 12:55:37 +0000 Ewan Welcome to the new look Daily Dust. We’re still bringing you the best of British from around the web, but we thought it was time for a little summer spruce up around the site.

We’ve been online now since late in 2008, and in that time we might have moved a pixel or two, but we’ve not sat down to see what works on the site and what needs work. Well, now we have, and the results are here for all to see.

Highlighting our favourite stories of the day was one goal, and we’re going to bring a featured story to the top of the index page on a regular basis. A lot of you commented that regular visitors were having to really look to work out what was new. So we’ve merged the categories on the front page to a single river of news, but you can still jump to your favourite section from the top menu bar.

If you’re looking to reach out to tens of thousands of UK readers, the new design will make it easier for us to run competitions, look at new products, and talk about  new services for our British audience, as well as give a great start to some recently graduated journalists who are working with The Dust.

You can join in as well, by letting us know what’s happening around you, by getting in touch directly with the editorial team or suggesting a story through our quick and easy form.

And now, onwards to more fun and frolics with your good news newspaper, The Daily Dust.

Coffee shots by Alfonso Surroca via Flickr.

PS… If you could just ignore any teething troubles with the new site, it would be appreciated, there’s still one or two points we want to add, but we’ll do that out in the open so we can bring you the best of the web every day!

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Finding my way around Norway during Eurovision Mon, 21 Jun 2010 15:12:42 +0000 Ewan image

Sometimes you just need a good book and everything in one place.

Before I head on any trip, I like to make sure of a few things – how to get from the airport or station into town and to the hotel, where the major points of interest for the tip are; how much is breakfast going to cost me; public transport and other little niggly things.

Now it is possible to go online and find out all of this given time (and the airport links are usually on the Wikipedia page of said Airport), but instead of offering to help me blow up Oslo Matthew Cashmore popped some Lonely Planet travel guides into the post for me to review.

Yes, good old fashioned printed books. Imagine that.

Actually having a physical version is a pretty neat idea. For all the digital efforts that Lonely Planet are going through at the moment (including their inclusion on my Nokia X6 handset via Ovi Maps), it’s far easier to sit with a highlighter pen to pick out the useful information, scrawl some notes in the margins, and put some post-it notes at the important pages.

For all the people arguing that you can do just the same with an electronic version, I disagree – but then I’m an old fuddy-duddy who still thinks a Filofax is a far better idea than an iPad for diary management and taking notes for interview – the Lonely Planet guides have lots of subtle features to help the traveller. They’re laminated soft=back covers to give protection without impacting on weight, the pages are slightly thinner so more pages can be packed into your luggage allowance, and there’s more than enough

Did I need the full depth of the book, which breaks down into all the major cities and regions? Nope – because I was heading straight home. But if I wasn’t staying over, then this would have made an excellent tour guide once all the Eurovision hospitality had rolled away and returned the city to the natives.

And if i ever end up back in Norway (hey, maybe they’ll win in Germany and the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest will head to Trondheim) then I know where all my travel notes and hints are… nicely highlighted, tabbed and scrawled in the margins of this book

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Capello spot on with squad selection Tue, 01 Jun 2010 17:39:42 +0000 Sam Cooper capello_dd_01062010_p

As Fabio Capello names his final 23 man squad for this summers World Cup, Sam Cooper takes a look at what each player brings.

The somewhat surprise omission from the squad is that of Arsenal winger Theo Walcott. Walcott, 21, who was the surprise inclusion in England’s last World Cup squad back in 2006, featured in both of England’s two World Cup friendlies against Mexico and Japan.

However, the former Southampton man failed to impress Capello and fellow right-wingers Sean Wright-Phillips and Aaron Lennon are on the plane for South Africa.

Darren Bent, Adam Johnson, Scott Parker, Michael Dawson, Leighton Baines and Tom Huddlestone also miss out.

But what can each of those 23 members of Capello’s squad bring to the team and bring to the tournament?


Joe Hart – Hart has had a fine season on loan at Birmingham City and was a key part of their ninth place finish. The Manchester City goalkeeper kept 12 clean sheets for the Blues including a shut-out against champions Chelsea who scored 103 Premier League goals. The 23 year old featured in both warm up matches and could well start in South Africa.

David James – The oldest man in the squad turns 40 this year and, despite being relegated with Portsmouth this season, looks set to challenge for the number one jersey this summer. James will be keen to impress any managers or scouts in a bid to prevent himself from playing Championship football next season.

Rob Green – The West Ham keeper has been the preferred choice of England boss Fabio Capello and did his chances no harm in the warm up match against Mexico, notably saving at the feet of Carlos Vela. However, Green is more than aware that the race for the gloves is definitely a three-horse race.


Jamie Carragher – Criticised by many for comments in his autobiography criticising playing for England, Carragher looks set to be cover for his Anfield team-mate Glen Johnson at full-back or even at centre-back. However, if Carragher shows the same passion as he does when wearing the red of Liverpool, he could prove to be vital asset.

Ashley Cole – One of four Premier League champions in the squad Cole has had a turbulent year. Wife Cheryl stating she will be filing for divorce just weeks before the World Cup is bound to affect Cole personally but it must remain strong and on task – which he has done for his club all season.

Rio Ferdinand – Ferdinand has had an injury ridden season featuring just 13 times in the League for Man Utd. However, the new England captain must show his leadership and experience considering the relative lack of World Cup experience throughout the squad.

John Terry – Stripped of his England captaincy in February following allegations he had an affair with Wayne Bridge’s ex-girlfriend, Terry’s form suffered as a result but has improved in recent months to lift the Premier League trophy. He must perform this summer considering the pace of teams England could meet in the later stages of the tournament.

Glen Johnson – Scorer of a fantastic goal against Mexico, Johnson has had a fine first season on Merseyside. The former Portsmouth and Chelsea full-back has also shone for his country sealing the right-back position. Johnson also brings an attacking element to the side and ,as mentioned, is a great striker of the ball.

Ledley King – A first inclusion at a major tournament for King following a great season with Spurs which saw them qualify for next season’s Champions League. A surprise to some given his injuries but his versatility to play anywhere in defence and in midfield means he is more than worthy of his place in South Africa.

Matthew Upson – Included as cover at centre-back, Upson is ready to pounce in case of injury to Ferdinand or Terry. However, Capello isn’t the kind of man to be wary of dropping the big names so don’t be surprised to see Upson featured.

Stephen Warnock – The headline surprise inclusion, Warnock has cemented his place in Aston Villa’s back four and although not expected to feature much, can learn a lot from the experience of being there.


Gareth Barry – Passed fit for the World Cup but not for the first game against USA, Barry looks set to feature in a defensive midfield role, allowing Lampard and Gerrard to support the attack.

Michael Carrick – Carrick hasn’t featured much at international level but looks set to be given the chance to shine in the opener on June 12 and should he shine could feature more in the tournament.

Joe Cole – Again a debatable inclusion but Cole can feature to allow Gerrard to play his more favoured central role. But Cole offers abilities of his own and could prove to be a tricky winger to deal with for the opposition.

Steven Gerrard – The  Liverpool midfielder is a certainty to feature but whether that be on the left or in the middle is a decision yet to be made for Capello. The England boss has played Gerrard out on the left more often than not but he could go more attacking against Algeria and Slovenia.

Frank Lampard – Another certainty in midfield, Lampard has notched 22 league goals from the middle of the field and despite missing penalty against Japan will probably be England’s spot-kick taker in South Africa.

Aaron Lennon – Following the somewhat surprise omission of Theo Walcott, Aaron Lennon looks set to offer England’s injection of pace on the wings. Lennon puzzled Premier League defences all season long on his way to securing Champions League football for Spurs next season and could well be the “super-sub” of the squad.

James Milner – Milner has had a great season for Aston Villa scoring seven league goals. But it’s not just Milner’s goals which make him the right choice his ability to get to the by-line and to create goal scoring chances for others means he is invaluable for Capello.

Sean Wright-Phillips – Another debatable inclusion, Wright-Phillips takes the place of Man City team-mate Adam Johnson, despite Johnson playing ahead of Wright-Phillips at Eastlands. Wright-Phillips has been inconsistent when wearing the Three Lions but will need to be consistent this summer as, more likely than not, his inclusion will be from the bench.


Peter Crouch – Arguably England’s most valuable asset. Crouch offers variety with very few of the other favourites offer. It’s not just his height that makes Crouch stand out, Crouch can also finish well and certainly has an eye for goal.

Jermain Defoe – Crouch’s Tottenham team-mate Defoe along with others also offers an element of pace but this time down the centre of the attack. Defoe has netted 18 times in the League along with five in the FA Cup showing he can produce goals.

Emile Heskey – A surprise inclusion after being out favoured by Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill, Heskey can supply Rooney with flick ons and hold the ball up well to bring the wingers and central midfielders into the game.

Wayne Rooney – The man with which 56 million England fans dream will bring the World Cup home. Rooney has had yet another fantastic season for Manchester United but has struggled since picking up an injury against Bayern Munich in the semi-finals of the Champions League. However Rooney is now, by his own declaration, fully fit and ready to go.

So, there is the 23 men tasked with the challenge of bringing the World Cup home, but can they do it? Capello has led the side to just one defeat in qualifying and despite two below-par performances in the warm up games, the final 23 selected shows variety, strength, pace and strength in depth – all key components to any World Cup winning squad.

Don’t forget to show your support for the team by claiming your FREE England T-Shirt from our friends Iffyton!

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Campaign Watch, 5 May Wed, 05 May 2010 22:47:48 +0000 Ewan image

The finish line is almost in sight, so how did everyone spend their last lab.


So what happens next? Well Paul Staines reckons the next vote is going to be for Leader of the Labour Party, assuming all the candidates get elected. Because at the moment it seems everyone has a bottle of champagne on ice for The Ed “Portillo” Balls moment.


The last minute running around the country is being done by everyone, but Cameron won the PR battle to be the one seen out and about. But he got one important nod… Simon Cowell.

Liberal Democrat

Iain Martin is wondering where Vince Cable has been in this election. Did Nick Clegg decide to take all the glory?

And Finally….

In case you missed them, Shane Greer has picked out the Top Five campaign videos of this election, with “Bell End” the eventual winner. Good call!

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Campaign Watch, 4 May Tue, 04 May 2010 22:24:03 +0000 Ewan image

Don’t worry, it’ll be all over soon! In the meantime…


So who should we vote for if not Labour? Ed Balls says “vote to keep out the Tory" candidates” while Gordon Brown says “vote Liberal, and the Tory may get in.” Out. In. Out. Shake it all about… it’s not like we want you to run the country.

Still there is one way to get your neighbourhood Watch Unit to open on a Bank holiday weekend with a full suite of staff, uniformed or otherwise. Just have Gordon Brown arrange a visit!


What if David Cameron only manages a minority party? Would that be enough? Paul Waugh thinks so, and lays out how a minority government would rule for the first year in comforting detail. What constitutional crisis?

Doesn’t matter though, the first of order seems to be to forget what happened in the last thirteen years with a Great Repeal Bill. What would you wipe out from the last thirteen years?

Liberal Democrat

Things not to do if you’re a Lib Dem candidate #32… describe the City Education Leader of the local council as “sometimes indefensible,” especially if (a) she is also a Lib Dem and (b) you have Nick Clegg coming to visit Edinburgh the same day. Isn’t that right, Beverley Hope?

The Northern Irish Issue

James Forsythe picks up on the Northern Irish seats that aren’t party of the regular election fight, but which might drop the Conservative target from 325 seats to less than 310.


Congrats to the betting company for the weirdest election stat so far – during the debates the candidates expelled 2,290 litres of air.

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How much power does your vote have? Tue, 04 May 2010 14:08:14 +0000 Ewan image

Can you actually make a difference this Thursday?

In all the talk of tactical voting, switching your vote, and “keep the Monster Raving Loony Party out campaigns”, you might be interested in the Voter Power website.

Pop in your postcode, and the site will have a look at your local constituency, the votes at the last election, and the current state of play of all the parties, and then come back with how much ‘power’ your vote will have on the outcome of the upcoming General Election. As they say:

The average UK voter only has the power of 0.253 votes. This is because most of us live in safe seats, where the outcome is pretty much certain regardless of how we vote.

What’s great here is that rather than listening to the campaign literature, the TV news bulletins, or the pr from the parties, you can find out for yourself and then make a decision.

Find out about your constituency at

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Campaign Watch, 3 May Mon, 03 May 2010 21:42:00 +0000 Ewan image

Will this Lego scene be repeated on Friday morning?


The good news is there is lots of advice out there for Labour if they loose the election – although I doubt they’ll take the advice of one Mayor of London, Boris Johnson to heart. Or maybe one man will:

It is wholly fitting, after the disastrous stewardship of Gordon Brown, that the man best placed to rescue the New Labour project from Cleggmania and reassure the middle classes is the ermine-sporting, eyebrow-arching aristocrat of the party, the grandson of Herbert Morrison, the Deputy Prime Minister, Lord President of the Council, President of the Board of Trade and Lord High Everything Else, Lord Mandelson of Foy and Hartlepool.


With all the talk about who pairs up with who when the music stops in a Hung parliament, Fraser Nelson has a better idea for David Cameron – go for a minority Government like the SNP in Scotland.

Letters from a Tory says pretty much the same thing, but also suggests asking the IMF (International Monetary Fund) to come in and have a look at the books – thus making sue everyone realises the mess Labour may have left the country in

Liberal Democrat

Dizzy nominates this picture as the caption competition of the week. Personally I think there’s something to be said for Clegg and Brown to be the new Morecambe and Wise, although Vince Cable may think he’s the wise one!


The “TV Debate Changed Everything” party

Gaby Hinsliff warns about placing too much emphasis on the TV debates and the myth that it killed Cameron and promoted Clegg. Far from it, they created a little bump, but the end result was the same.

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Campaign Watch, 2 May Sun, 02 May 2010 21:46:05 +0000 Ewan image

The last weekend before the election – have the parties made the most of it?


Like some strange round of A Question of Sport, everyone is asking what happens next to Labour after the election. Either they win and Gordon Brown is deposed, or they loose and Gordon Brown is deposed. Voices such as Iain Marter and Fraser Nelson are all saying it’s going to be Darling.

But it is all over for Balls, even if he holds his seat. If he doesn’t, that’s when the champagne will flow around the country for those not flying the red flag, while others will wonder what if they had sunk Brown


If books could vote, then the Conservatives would be on the best seller list, as Waterstones reveal the sales figures of the three main party manifestos. The Blues are in the lead on 38%, with the Lib Dems on 32% and Labour on 30%.

Still, there are some problems for David Cameron’s party. Scotland for instance, where they’re still pretty much wiped out. When four seats in a country is considered victory, you know there’s a lot still to do.

Liberal Democrat

Quake with fear Nick Clegg! Norman Tebbit doesn’t like you. But you are popular. So much so you’ve had to hire another bus. You’re going up in the world!

The Big Ben Results Projector

Gotta love the BBC in using cultural landmarks- they’ve decided to project the results of the election on the side of Big Ben in real time, like some demented Blue Peter appeals project. personally we liked it more when it was Gail Porter.


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You can see when his political career leaves his body! Sun, 02 May 2010 18:24:33 +0000 Ewan image

The Clustershag to 10 Downing Street makes it Stateside.

You gotta love Jon Stewart and The Daily Show team – when they decide to do some satire on an election that’s not American, they still do their regular take on the footage.

And Bigot-gate was a gift.

I suspect that Brit John Oliver had a hand in those one, but who cares. It’s six minutes that sums up the election far better than our Campaign Watch ever could!

You can watch the full clip at Gawker.

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Campaign Watch, 27 April Tue, 27 Apr 2010 22:55:00 +0000 Ewan image

A long day on the campaign trail? Time to catch up


While the furore around Labour’s latest campaign advert is building, it’s interesting to note who was behind it – in the last two weeks before the election, the Labour party have called in the US director of hit terrorist and cops show 24.

Meanwhile The Mirror reckons they’ve discovered what Gordon Brown got up to in a previous life, he was one of the backing men in a Kate Bush video.


Tory blogger Shane Greer has some advice for all the political parties and volunteers getting ready to try and get the vote out. Watch Glengarry Glen Ross.

Liberal Democrat

While the main election vote hasn’t happened yet, the Liberal Democrats can be assured that they are winning one poll, the online Social Media networks.


Take the Lolcats phenomenon, add some politics, and back from the dead is the Birmingham based Lolitics, bringing some light relief to the campaign.

Oh and Total Politics has the most important list though, where all the Election night parties are going to be!

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Campaign Watch, 26 April Mon, 26 Apr 2010 21:13:00 +0000 Ewan image

Never stand under a rude word, or Campaign Watch will find you!


Glasgow candidate Tom Morris, a prolific blogger in the last parliament, talks about what it is like in a Hustings debate in his constituency. Enlightening reading and a nice look behind the scenes.

But for the darker side, Sean Dilley was at a press conference on education chaired by Ed Balls and Douglas Alexander, and asked a question. Such a shame that Douglas Alexander answered a completely different question. Selective hearing?


Congratulations David Cameron, your “Thick of it” picture was perfectly captured by Michael Scofield. Of such images are episodes of I’m Sorry I Haven;t A Clue built around, but in other news for the Conservatives, Cameron was on better ground on being challenged at Southampton Univ ersity on bursaries.

“He doesn’t try to tell the student what she wants to hear,” points out Wall Street Journal reporter Iain Martin. “Instead he politely challenges her assumptions and explains his position

Liberal Democrat

Tom Brady at ITV news has proven to be a great political blogger in the election period. As well as reporting, he’s been commenting and  analysis – which is the perfect way to use the opinion. He ask if Nick Clegg has made a mistake in coming out with what he might do in a hung Parliament, and that’s given Labour and the Conservatives a chance to neuter the Lib Dems.

Scottish National Party

Oops. That’s all you can say when a Politican makes a grave tactical error. Alex Salmond declares himslef a Trekkie, and then tells us his favourite Star trek series was Voyager. As The Thumbcast reminds us, that’s the show with the deadly serious line “get this cheese to sickbay.”

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Campaign Watch, 25 April Sun, 25 Apr 2010 20:56:09 +0000 Ewan image

Elvis can’t vote, but you can! Here’s what the parties are doing to convince you.


So what happens to Brown if he doesn’t win? That;s the big question, tied up in the back room dealings to get 325 MP’s to support one MP to be Prime Minister. David Blackburn has some thoughts on how this will work in the Labour party after the campaign is over.

Of course the cracking slogan “Go Fourth” has now been understood, at least by The Red Rag. Brown and co are trying to finish in fourth place!


While some people think David Cameron should have avoided the televised debates, he’s glad they happened even if the result might not be what he expected.

Chris Galley talks about his time on the door to door trail and is wondering where the Labour foot soldiers are – without them the get people to the voting station campaigns on the day of the election will be hampered.

Liberal Democrat

And now Nick Clegg has almost given out the notes on what he’ll do in a hung parliament. If Labour is third, he won’t have Gordon Brown as Prime Minister. Alan Johnson on the other hand…

Elvis has left the building

Meanwhile Political Betting simply ask why Elvis is following Brown around on the campaign trail. This is class. And with Johnny Cash (kinda) midweek will be see Jeff Beck in the last week?

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Campaign Watch, 23 April Fri, 23 Apr 2010 21:53:00 +0000 Ewan image


Into the weekend, but the election is still causing mischief.


Who won the second debate? And does it matter? Well it does if you want to get your message over, so the blog of Malcolm Tucker Alistair Campbell makes interesting reading as he discusses why Gordon Brown did far better in the Conservative polls than they thought he would.

Brian barder also looks at something that might be overlooked as the polls approach – what actually happens in a Hung Parliament, and reminds us that Gordon Brown is still Prime Minister till he resigns, even if another party gets more seats in the Election.


Youhave to worry who places the message, but The Spectator is pretty sure that the idea of a Hung Parliament is being at least considered by David Cameron, while his choice to (finally) be interviewed by Jeremy Paxman is hailed a successful risk by Benedict Brogan.

And congrats to David Schneider, who’s made his best guess at what David Cameron’s debate notes might have looked like; loving the “Also don’t say ‘I hate you Nick Clegg you’ve spoiled it all!”

Liberal Democrat

Who’s the scariest interviewer so far this campaign? Well following on from a mid week Brown bloodbath, it looks like Radio 1 is the one to fear. Now Nick Clegg has been pulled apart by listeners to the station. His bete noir was immigration.

Vote Johnny Jenny Cash


Thanks to Dean Whitbread for the heads up on yet another fascinating candidate.

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What happened in the green room before the #leadersdebate Fri, 23 Apr 2010 12:57:11 +0000 Admin1 Sky Leaders Debate
We all watched the leaders debate, but did any of us know what was happening in the green room?

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Campaign watch, 21 April Wed, 21 Apr 2010 22:15:00 +0000 Ewan image

You know what you missed today? The election!


What happens when you meet the public? They ask for honest answers… and ask again… and again… till you sound a bit stupid refusing to answer. So Gordon Brown’s Radio 1 interview and phone-in was a bit of a car crash, expenses, flat cleaning and trust all cropped up and were not especially well dealt with.

The polls aren’t great reading either. With an average of 26.2% in the last few days. Brown is now polling worse than Michael Foot. He managed 27.6% If Brown drops below that level, never mind his career, the Labour Party will be in serious trouble.


What to do about an egg? More fun from the public as David Cameron gets the by now traditional egg attack to see how they cope in a crisis. By all accounts he did better than John Prescott.

Nice Chancellors debate on the BBC Politics Show, but George, what happened to your hair?

Liberal Democrat

Is the PM a ‘’desperate man’? The wooing of Nick Clegg (steady on…) continues in the National Press as the big question of what happens in a hung parliament seems to be the main point anyone wants to make to the Lib Dems. One thing, it’s going to really put the pressure on Clegg over the next two leader debates.

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Campaign Watch, 20 April Tue, 20 Apr 2010 21:58:19 +0000 Ewan image

Get on your bike and see what you missed in the Election today!


Tom Watson might have done his best to stop the Digital economy Bill, but he’s top of the Twitters, as the most influential political twitter in the UK. Interestingly, the next placed MP is in 9th, and it’s Nick Clegg.

Still, Gordon Brown still has influence and can get the votes, if you have a question and don’t mind it being answered in private, as if it was confessional. One voter down, 70 million to go, Prime Minister?


Cameron and Co shouldn’t worry about the Lib-Dem poll surge – even if it does continue (and there are signs it is dying out) the Lib Dems are nearer the Conservative policy than Labour.

Neither should they worry about the party budget, as donations of up to £1.46m were made to the party since the election has been called. That’s double the Labour party’s £783,000 and dwarfs the Lib Dem’s £20,000

Liberal Democrat

So what are Nick Clegg’s tactics going to be if there is a Hung Parliament? Tom Bradby on ITV reckons he goes for the statesmanlike approach and leaves the big demands to the next election. Is a little jam today better that PR tomorrow?

The Retirement Party

148 MP’s are calling it a day and won;t be standing at this election (reports Michael Crick), although you could argue it’s 150. Thanks to everyone getting out soon, there’s no last minute “presents for staff” that did very well. We think that’s a good thing.

Monster Raving Looney

And thanks to David Green, for nipping down to the Houses of Parliament to get us these pictures of the Looney Bicycle we talked about over the weekend It’s one way to get to the mother of all parliaments when the Ash is down!

You can get in touch with David at his website,

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Campaign Watch, 19 April Mon, 19 Apr 2010 22:49:10 +0000 Ewan image

Labour or Conservative? There’s only one way to find out! Fiiiiig- err, Campaign Watch


What’s the best way to be Prime Minister? Look llike one and act like one. We’d never suggest that sending the HMS Ark Royal to be a channel ferry is nothing more than an election stunt for Labour.

Neither is it looking good for former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, as she looks set to loose her seat. Rest assured Ms Smith that the biggest cheer of the night will not be for you, but for Ed Balls, if the Labour MP dominos are set to fall.

Finally, Guido Fawkes, ever one for a strategic quip, points out that Alistair Darling has packed up everything at Number 11 Downing Street, as if he knew he was moving on after May 6th.


So why did David Cameron drop his planned speech this afternoon that was going to talk about Labour, to something a little more, well, Liberal. Surely not all those opinion polls? Is he regretting opening up the debate to all three leaders. Or is this the reason for the U-Turn to finally be interviewed by Jeremy Paxman?

Still, it keeps the roads bust. Dizzy has worked out that in the ultra marginal constituency of Hemel Hepmsstead, you had roughly 5.7 billboards "to “vote for change” every mile.

Liberal Democrat

Or is it the Richard Curtis party? According to the Daily Mail, “His wife is Spanish, his mother Dutch, his father half-Russian and his spin doctor German. Is there anything British about LibDem leader?” How about lifting from the script of Blackadder Goes Forth?

Harry Hill

What if Mr Hill was Prime Minister? He’d teach knitting in schools. Riiigggghhhhht. Dear BBC, this is a nice idea, but we need to know why? Is it for the wool, the pins, or the natty scarfs we would all get as Christmas Presents?

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Campaign Watch, April 18th Sun, 18 Apr 2010 21:19:26 +0000 Ewan image

Quiet weekend in? Not with an election coming.


Here’s an innovative way to get something out of Gordon Brown – start crying Five year old Alexi Prime’s Mum is stuck in Europe thanks to the volcanic ash, so the best thing to do is a tearful “can you get my mummy home” to the Prime Minister.

Let’s hope Brown doesn’t use that tactic at the next debate to “get me back to Downing Street.”


More advice for Tories on what to do next,this time from Ben Brogan, as he thinks many are facing their greatest fear “A hung parliament means a deal between Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg that will bring in proportional representation and deliver Tony Blair’s dream of a progressive centre-left coalition governing in perpetuity.” All the talk of one party getting wiped out at May 6th might not always be for the Red team/

Liberal Democrat

Nick Clegg should be a happy man with the opinion polls today, but there’s even better news. His chance of becoming PM is now at the same odds as the UK winning the Eurovision Song Contest. Which is about 66/1.

Monster Raving Looney

The OMRLP have announced the best Transport policy this weekend, and not an ash in site – Knigel Knapp details the Looney-bike: “They’re great – environmentally friendly and they will get the nation fit if everyone starts using them. And what with global warming everyone might have to use them when the sea levels rise. In the meantime we might have to build a few more canals (but Birmingham has got more canals than Venice) and that can only be good for the unemployment figures”

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