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Tuesday, 29 May, 2001, 18:10 GMT 19:10 UK
The Campaign Today with Nick Robinson

Just 9 days to go before the big day. And Nick Robinson, tireless as ever, is still keeping an eye on the contenders.


Last updated at 7pm
Click here for latest update


Subject: Here we are again
Sent: 9.50am

So, we're in the final full week of campaigning, and it raises the question for all of us monitoring this election so closely - What on earth do they talk about now?

Most of the parties have played their key cards, so what's left? The danger for them all is that bored journalists move off the official agenda.

This morning's Labour news conference was dominated again by questions about the single currency. Labour spin doctors complain that we have all decided the result of the election already and are pursuing questions which rightly should be asked of the next Labour government.

The danger for the Tories is that with no poll movement, the questions turn to the Tory leadership.



Subject: Women issues
Sent: 10.30am

Who says journalists change nothing? Those questions last week on the role of women have got the parties quaking.

This morning the Lib Dems unveiled a women's manifesto with no fewer than four women on the platform. Just one problem - the party spokesman on women's issues is a man - Dr Evan Harris. And he wasn't there - prompting suggestions that they were more interested in pictures than issues, a thought fuelled by disagreement on the top table about whether there are women's issues at all or simply some issues that some women take more interest in at some time of their lives.



Subject: Curiouser and curiouser
Sent: 10.45am

Tony Blair this morning was surrounded by dozens of striped suited businessfolk, prompting a delightful question from my old colleague Robin Oakley: What about the workers?

He didn't need to say any more. We (the journalists) and they (the politicians) recognise the Alice in Wonderland world which we now seem to be occupying.



11.45am

LABOUR HOPE TO SPICE UP ALL OUR LIVES THIS P.M. WITH A STUNT PROMISED TO RAISE A LAUGH ON THE ISSUE OF HAGUE'S FITNESS TO LEAD



Subject: Changing minds
Sent: 12.20pm


Last week I said Hague was taking a risk by saying the pound was dead if the Tories lost the election. Well, what do you know, he's changed his mind. This morning he said he'd fight tooth and nail in a referendum to save the pound, days after saying a referendum would be lost because Labour would fix the question. I wonder if we'll see that clock again.



Subject: Women's issues, part 2
Sent: 1pm

Women strike again. It was pointed out at the Tories' news conference on tax that all the examples they gave of gainers from their tax changes were either women who didn't work or only worked part time.

Were they saying, it was asked, that women belonged at home? William Hague tried to defend himself by pointing to a tax illustration with two earners but he wasn't going to be saved that easily.

The example was of a woman earning just 3,000 a year and working only part-time. They're on dangerous ground here but Michael Portillo tried to salvage some ground by saying that both men knew the value of high earning women.



Subject: Goose chase
Sent: 3.30pm

Let's hear it for the best named candidate in this election - a Mr David Wildgoose who is running for the Liberal Democrats in Wentworth - only their 562nd target seat. Mr Wildgoose told BBC Radio Sheffield today that - despite party policy to the contrary - he was not only opposed to joining the European single currency, he was in favour of pulling out of Europe too.



4pm
I'm on the way to Brighton - and I've just had a preview of Labour's stunt.(Click to listen)



Subject: Tory secret weapon
Sent: 7pm

So the Tories do have their answer to Labour's witty poster about Hague. It is, of course, none other than John Major who's summoned up all of his passion if not much of a varied vocabulary to attack Labour's spin and to condemn John Prescott's behaviour as not fitting for a deputy prime minister, but more fitting for a street-corner delingquent. The problem, of course, is that when John Major says the country is "sleep walking into catastophe", that's what they said in 1997 and it didn't work then.



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