Election 2010 Lookahead: Friday 9 April

The who, when and where of the campaign.

With just 27 days (count them) until election day, here is what's happening today:

Labour

Gordon Brown -- presumably with groupies in tow -- embarks on what is being called a "Leader's Tour" of the UK. He'll travel by train and battle bus and is heading to Scotland, where he'll team up with the Scottish Labour leader, Iain Gray. The Scottish Secretary, Jim Murphy, will also be on hand for the launch of the party's poster campaign north of the border.

Conservatives

David Cameron kicked off his day, as Gordon Brown did yesterday, with a date with John Humphrys and the 8.10 interview on Radio 4's Today programme. Meanwhile, the Tory shadow environment secretary, Greg Clark, is in Crawley with the local candidate, Henry Smith; the pair will tour Ceres Power, an alternative energy company. It won't be the last time a senior Tory pays a visit to a constituency where Labour holds office with a majority of just 37.

Liberal Democrats

Nick Clegg starts his day in South Wales with the Lib Dem MP for Cardiff Central, Jenny Willott (10.30pm). He then heads to Solihull to launch his party's regional manifesto for the West Midlands (2pm) and to the Leeds Rhinos Rugby Club at Headingley Stadium to launch the regional manifesto for Yorkshire (5pm). Meanwhile, the Lib Dem shadow chancellor, Vince Cable (pictured), will be in Cambridge for the east of England launch.

Other parties

The Scottish National Party leader and First Minister, Alex Salmond, visits staff at a Sky call centre in Livingston, West Lothian, together with the SNP's local candidate, Lis Bardell.

The media

David Cameron's appearance on the Today programme is likely to make the political weather for a few hours at least. Elsewhere, it's a fairly quiet day on the TV and radio front. Incidentally, the Guardian reports this morning that both Cameron and Brown are pretending to be out every time BBC Newsnight's Jeremy Paxman calls.

Away from the campaign

The County Championship cricket season begins today with Warwickshire v Yorkshire at Edgbaston and Essex v Hampshire at Chelmsford.

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Jon Bernstein, former deputy editor of New Statesman, is a digital strategist and editor. He tweets @Jon_Bernstein. 

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Tim Farron is being unfairly maligned for inviting us to smell his spaniel

The truth behind “smell my spaniel”.

Out on the campaign trail in Cambridge, the Lib Dem leader Tim Farron was caught inexplicably inviting voters to “smell my spaniel”.

Here is the shock footage:

“Smell my spaniel, maybe, maybe… oh, how are you? Good to see you!” he said, while the top political journalists of the nation scratched their heads. “A new Lib Dem slogan?” asked the BBC. The “catchphrase of the general election” declared the Telegraph. A new, surprisingly progressive “theological pronouncement”, was this mole’s first thought.

And he has, of course, been ridiculed online:

But no.

Look closer.

What’s going on is clear. Farron is not inviting voters to sniff his spaniel at all; he is addressing a dog. One of the activists in the huddle he is speaking to is holding a little dog wearing a Liberal Democrat rosette:

And here is said dog with Farron:

Farron is clearly being sniffed by the dog, because he is carrying the smell of his own dog, Jasper the spaniel.

Was Farron actually commenting that the little Lib Dem pooch was sniffing its party leader because he smelt like another dog? In these uncertain times of fake news and eroding trust, let’s get our spaniel sniffing story straight.

I'm a mole, innit.

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