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Wednesday, 6 June, 2001, 15:59 GMT 16:59 UK
The Campaign Today with Nick Robinson

Today's 6 June - that's D-Day. Spend Decision Day with your guide, philosopher and friend, Nick Robinson.

Last updated at 4.55pm
Click here for latest update


Subject: So. Farewell then...
Sent: 9.10am

So farewell then Charles, Tony and William. Adieu to those sticky pastries with gooey icing that for some reason our parties believe constitutes breakfast.

Bye bye soundbites, press releases and questions to ask. Oddly, I will miss you. Not so much that on Monday I won't relish that extra hour in bed and the company of my wife and children. Only four more years to wait.



Subject: Happy chap
Sent: 9.40am

The happiest man on this campaign's been cheerful Charlie Kennedy. Why? One of his strategists summed up his appeal with an American parallel - Kennedy combines, he claims, the personality of George Dubya with the policies of Al Gore. A formula which probably would have swept the US without the intervention of hanging chads.

Given New Labour's reputation for spin, honesty was the word the Lib Dems wanted associated with their man and they've succeeded where plain-speaking Yorkshireman William Hague has failed.

One final reason he's said to have done well - surprise. There was a widespread view in his party as well as among journalists that he lacked the energy and conviction to fight a good campaign.

Someone once said satisfaction equals expectation minus reality. In Kennedy's case that's produced a big plus.



11.50am
I'm in a cab, coming back from the Tory news conference. Now which popular TV show did the whole thing remind me of...? (Click to listen)


Subject: Back in the office
Sent: 12.30pm

Well, it was either the Weakest Link, or a version of Conservatives Anonymous. One by one, the key members of the shadow cabinet came up and confessed that they were indeed Conservatives.

"My name is Michael and I once voted Labour," he told us.

"My name is Ann and I was once out of tune with the '60s."

"My name is Francis, and I believe in mutual obligation."

The sketch-writers will have a joy, but if you want to focus on the content, it was actually quite interesting. The Tories saying that their policies were not about ideology, but about values.

And that people agreed with their values but didn't quite like their party, but should vote with their values.

I think it's quite a powerful theme, if only they'd used it a bit earlier. But it is another adaptation of their strategy, if not a change.

It may have come a little bit too late, and may be weighed down by all those embarrassing headlines making the link with Ann Robinson.




What, other than the fisticuffs of JP, has stood out in this campaign?

Garry Sutherland

Subject: Plenty, Garry, plenty. How about:
Sent: 4.55pm

  • Blair's opening sermon - beyond parody and beyond belief that anyone could think it was good politics or frankly appropriate to launch an election at a religious event with a room-full of school aged children.
  • "Ladies Day" at Labour's news conference - Gordon Brown stopping Estelle Morris answering a question when asked why women had been consigned to a backseat role
  • "Silent Spouses Day" - William Hague answering for his wife Ffion when she was asked a question
  • Mrs Storer - sitting on a train from Birmingham to London listening to a radio report about the extraordinary confrontation between Tony Blair and Sharon Storer at the hospital I'd left only minutes earlier!
  • "The Mummy returns" - Britain's collective neurosis about Margaret thatcher goes on and on
  • Charles Kennedy breaking all the rules by laughing at himself
  • The fact that this election has become a referendum on the Tories and the government's record has been barely assessed.


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