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  1. Politics
6 May 2015

David Cameron has a “Keep calm” poster, Ed a snapshot of simpler times

Plus: Grant Schapps in a box, and a Tory mystery.

By Kevin Maguire

David Cameron has a wartime “Keep calm . . .” poster on the wall of his Chipping Norton retreat in the village of Dean (a cottage whose wisteria and broken chimney, you may recall, cost taxpayers £680 before the expenses backlash shamed the people’s toff into repaying the cash). I’m told that the sign was a gift from a friend. A visitor claimed that the message reads: “Keep calm, it’s only a recession.” People who lost their jobs aren’t laughing. Did Cameron have good reason to smile at a banking collapse that sent the deficit and UK debt soaring, propelling him into No 10?

In Ed Miliband’s office at Labour’s London HQ is a family photograph from simpler times. The happy snap is of his dad, Ralph, his mam, Marion, Ed and his elder brother, David. If the younger Milibrother lands in Downing Street, the rift with his sibling will seem justified. If he doesn’t, the photo will be a reminder of a lost gamble.

Tory direct mail has been misdirected during this election campaign. Boris Johnson repeatedly invited an 81-year-old man to join rallies and action days and to help with telephone canvassing “to ensure David Cameron returns to No 10 and keep out Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP”. The hale and hearty pensioner failed to respond, so, in a pained “Let us know” email, Johnson asked him for ten seconds to explain. The answer was simple. Joe Benton served for 25 years as Labour MP for Bootle. The clue was in the parliamentary email address regularly used by the dimwits at CCHQ.

What of the two-faced Grant Shapps/Michael Green? Cameron’s get-rich-quick Tory chair seemed to vanish from the campaign after he was accused of sneakily altering Wikipedia entries. My Conservative snout whispered that the party limited Mr Double Identity to London Live: the largely ignored TV station run by the Independent’s Russian owner, Evgeny Lebedev. The snout giggled that marooning Shapps-Green on a channel nobody watches was Lynton Crosby’s idea of a joke.

The curious case of “Harry Evans” in the Suffolk seat of Waveney remains unresolved. Labour’s Bob Blizzard failed to trace whoever shares a surname with the former editor of the Sunday Times after an unusually long letter was printed in the Lowestoft Journal, endorsing the area’s Tory incumbent, Peter Aldous. The London Road address in Lowestoft given by the writer does not exist.

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Scenting a Tory dirty trick, Blizzard, the area’s MP for 13 years, who is standing again after losing in 2010, found no Harry, Harold or Henry Evans on the electoral roll. The local paper’s editor, Blizzard said, insisted that he had spoken to the writer, but declined to disclose where he lived in the constituency. As I said, curious.

Kevin Maguire is the associate editor (politics) of the Daily Mirror

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