Local media election diary: Ed’s hen party, Ricky Tomlinson, Joey Essex and that Radio 1 DJ from yesteryear

chester chronicle

Finally! Something unpredictable on the general election campaign trail! The Chester Chronicle reported, and was rewarded with weekend-long traffic spike as a result, on how Labour leader Ed Miliband was swamped by a Hen party in Chester.

The story unfolded on Friday when the Labour leader had been busy campaigning in the Wirral and parts of Cheshire.

At Chester railway station, the Labour leader was aboard his battle bus when he was spotted by a bunch of hens. The bride to be appears to have got an invite aboard the bus before Miliband gamely came out to see the bride’s friends.

Obviously, it’s no Mrs Duffy incident in terms of political magnitude, but at least it shows that unpredictable things really can still happen when the Westminster bubble goes on tour.

After all, who would have expected to read this:

One of the 25-strong group of hens from Knutsford spotted the Labour battle bus in City Road after she popped outside the Westminster Hotel for a crafty cigarette.

Within minutes the hen herself had been alerted along with the full entourage.

After some negotiations, Ed’s spin-doctors let the bride-to be on board for a brief one-to-one and a selfie. But after cries of ‘Ed, Ed, Ed!’ the man himself appeared at the door of the coach and waved for a group selfie.

chester chronicle

Labour know who to blame if it all goes wrong

Miliband gave one of his first interviews after the election was called to his local newspaper, the Doncaster Free Press. He is, as he pointed out, first and foremost an MP for Doncaster.

It might not have made the front page of the paper, but he gave away a nugget of an insight into how he tests his policies.

He told the Free Press:

“I’ve got a simple principle, which is if it doesn’t work for Doncaster North, it’s not going to work for Britain.

 “And that’s how I regard our manifesto, and think about what we’re going to do as a Government.”
So if Labour don’t win, presumably it’s Doncaster’s fault.

Living the Reem

If Ed Miliband was a little surprised to get the celebrity treatment in Chester, it’s unlikely some of the other famous faces popping up on the campaign trail.
Perhaps the most bizarre was this one, making the front page of the Grimsby Telegraph:
That’s right. Joey Essex met up with Nigel Farage during a tour of Grimsby. Joey was there as part of his TV series interviewing all the major party leaders.
It wasn’t perhaps the best day for the UKIP leader, however, as the presence of Joey  led to this exchange, according to the local paper:

Essex, who is interviewing all four major party leaders for an upcoming episode of ITV2 show Education Joey Essex, asked the Ukip leader: “Why are we in Grimsby?‎”

Mr Farage said: ‎”It’s symbolic of what’s gone wrong, if we came here forty years ago there were thousands of men working here and a massive trawler fleet, it was the biggest fishing port in the country.

“We joined the European Union and now have to share all our fish with all the other countries.‎ And what we’re saying is let’s take our country and our territorial waters back, let’s get our fishing industry back.”

In response, Essex said “sick”.

And to think people say celebrity interviewers dumb down political journalism.

How did Farage feel after his day in Grimsby? Maybe page three of the Grimsby Telegraph held a clue:


Spinning around…

Well done to the Boston Standard for making the most of a UKIP celebrity whose alphabetical rating presumably sits somewhere past the letter m.

UKIP sent Mike Read, the once-famous DJ, to Lincolnshire to back the local candidate:

boston standard

I challenge you to find a more tenuous, stretched quote from a political supporter in this election:

Mr Read and Coun Hunter-Clarke both joined UKIP on the same day in 2012 and have since spoken together at conferences all over the country.

 He said: “It was great to be back in Boston and Skegness, somewhere where I did the Radio 1 roadshows.”

Steady Eddie

For Labour, well-known supporter Eddie Izzard has been causing a stir in various local newspapers as he gets out to support local candidates.
The Basildon Echo carried one of those intros you know you’ll only ever see once in your career:

Eddie Izzard made a splash in Basildon town centre today when he hit the campaign trail wearing the finest clothes known to woman.

Mr Izzard was in town to support parliamentary candidate Labour Mike le Surf, who is fighting for the South Basildon and East Thurrock MP seat.

Followed by a series of paragraphs which I suspect will never be repeated in political journalism:

Basildon resident Sue Marriott, 49, of who popped out of work when she heard Eddie was in town, said: “He looks fantastic! He’s lost so much weight. Now he’s got better legs than me!”

Asked why he was cross-dressing for the campaign trail, Eddie said: “I am transgender! It is my genetic right as a human being to dress like a woman and if anyone has a problem with it, they can take it up with the United Nations Court of Human Rights.”

Eddie and Sue swapped dieting tips, with Eddie advising her to ‘dump the sugar’ if she wanted to lose weight.

Typical Labour. Always trying to ban something.

What does the shorthand for scrotum look like?


But perhaps the best quote of the celebrity general election campaign trail so far comes from Ricky Tomlinson, speaking to the Liverpool Echo about his support for the No Vote No Voice campaign, which has received national support from the Daily Mirror.

The Scouser was asked what he thought about Russell Brand’s view that you shouldn’t vote:

Ricky, who was awarded the Freedom of Liverpool in October, says: “I think he’s a ****head. You’ve got to vote.

“Why doesn’t Russell Brand stand for election himself? He could stand alongside Joey Essex, who once, on a quiz show, asked ‘What’s a scrotum?’ They could form The Scrotum Party, or The Brains of Britain Party.”

It might not be Churchillian, but crikey, it’s memorable!


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