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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 January 2008, 15:30 GMT
Commons Confidential: December 2007
Nick Assinder
By Nick Assinder
Political correspondent, BBC News website

Despatches from the House of Commons

It is tempting to think that it is the advent of digital cameras and Photoshop that has given politicians the opportunity (never taken advantage of, of course) to fiddle about with their election literature, picturing themselves in the company of people they have never met, for example. But not so.

Charles Kennedy
Mr Kennedy could have saved candidate a few quid
Former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy told journalists at a press gallery lunch of an occasion during an election campaign which demonstrated great creativity on the part of a particular, un-named candidate.

Mr Kennedy paid a surprise visit to one constituency only to be greeted by the candidate who complained that, had he been given more notice of the visit, it would have saved him a few quid.

Why so? Because he had recently taken his children to London where they visited the famous Madame Tussauds waxworks and found the model of Mr Kennedy so convincing they had their picture taken with it, at some cost.

"I've been using it in my election pamphlets ever since," confessed the candidate.


Could UKIP have accidentally stumbled on the answer to the country's energy needs - giant hamsters?

Kitten Kong from The Goodies TV show
Kitten Kong faces a rival
On the day the government announced plans for a massive increase in the number of offshore windmills to plug into the national grid, the UK Independence Party couldn't resist mocking the idea.

The party's Euro MP Graham Booth issued a press release declaring that staining the British coastline with giant windmills was about "as much use as breeding a giant hamster to run around the inside of the London Eye".

That conjures up a lovely image to rival the famous footage in the old "Goodies" TV show which saw a giant kitten rampaging through London and toppling the Post Office tower (as it was then).

Kitten Kong versus Hulk the Hamster.


The association of former MPs has been delighted to welcome a new member in the shape of former prime minister Tony Blair.

Tony Blair
Mr Blair has joined ranks of former MPs
According to the group's newsletter, Mr Blair has already completed a standing order for his 25 subscription - and no, he didn't use a proxy.

The association has now signed up three former PMs - the late Jim Callaghan, John Major and Mr Blair - but one name is glaringly absent.

"So do we have any members in the Lords who know Mrs Thatcher well enough to ask her to join....." pleads the newsletter.

Good luck.

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