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Wednesday, 30 May, 2001, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK

Labouring on the road

As Tony Blair's campaigning continues into its third week, BBC correspondents Carolyn Quinn and James Robbins report on the prime minister's quest to secure a second term in office.


Carolyn Quinn's diary, 30th May

Things are looking up - there was cream cheese and salmon in the bagels today.

Somebody has just passed up the bus asking for a fiver in return for a go in the battlebus sweepstake. If Labour win what will be the majority? I pick out 55 to 59 which probably restricts my chances of netting the money!


" We also play battlebus bingo, which involves trying to second guess favourite phrases that Tony Blair might use during today's speech "
Carolyn Quinn

We are making our way towards our secret destination - we are never told where we are going until we have almost arrived, but the road signs are sometimes a give-away to an eagle-eyed journalist.

We occupy ourselves with reading the papers and listening to the radio. We also play battlebus bingo, which involves trying to second guess favourite phrases that Tony Blair might use during today's speech.

Whoever draws "investment versus cuts", "economic stability" or "voters have two fundamental choices - between Labour and the Conservatives" has won.

Yesterday the prime minister was courting the business community at the launch of Labour's business manifesto in the City.

All went smoothly until the afternoon, when the battlebuses moved to Reading and the UK headquarters of Microsoft. There were no Labour posters in sight, but plenty of Microsoft posters, and coincidentally the visit came just days before the company launches its latest software package.

Tony and Cherie Blair sat in a glassy atrium being shown the new product while hundreds of workers looked on.

Mr Blair shifted uneasily in his seat - was it that he was already anticipating charges that he had offered a high profile endorsement for the product, or simply that as a self-confessed technophobe he hadn't a clue what was going on?

One thing's guaranteed. Mr Blair will today be steering a very wide berth around any computers he encounters.


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