Monday, 3 August 2009

Rare cat sighting - the week that was.

Running the Westminster show single-handed, even in the close season, is demanding so I haven't kept the blog up to date for the last week. However, mobile phone replaced, energy levels boosted by the freedom of not being a slave to the ringtone for a week, and I'm ready to dive in again.

And the news is, well not much really. Went up to Luton for the launch of Esther Rantzen's election campaign last week. She sounds well intentioned, and I'm not saying the public anger over MPs expenses has dissipated, but I don't think she'll make the grade in what is going to be a highly charged and brutal election campaign.

The Tory candidate for Luton was quick out of the trap to have a go at her and no wonder. If she takes some of the 5000 majority he needs to take the seat that the scandalised Margaret Moran is vacating then Labour might come through the middle.

Better news for the Tories is that in the 30 key marginals, the ones that have to change to rob Labour of a parliamentary majority, the party is on party on 44%, a massive 24 points ahead of Labour on 20%, with the Liberal Democrats on 18%.

This compares with a YouGov poll for the Daily Telegraph on Friday which gave the Tories a 14-point lead across the country as a whole, with 41% against Labour's 27%. It will take more than a televised debate to turn these figures around.

As I stood there listening to the That's Life star in a Luton clothes market I thought that the silly season was truly upon us. I was wrong. Soon after I had to write about the death of Alistair Darling's cat , Sybil, which died after a short illness. Important news if you are a member of the Darling family but unlikely to alter the state of the markets.

Sybil, a black and white moggy named after Basil Fawlty's wife in Fawlty Towers, passed away at the London home of friends of the Chancellor. Although her basket was a feature of the 11 Downing Street state rooms the Scottish-born cat had only ever been a short-term resident at the famous address.

She moved into the Chancellor 's flat from the Darling family home in Edinburgh in 2007 but left six months later after failing to settle.

Here's some rare footage of the cat enjoying itself in Downing Street which, I think, looks suspiciously like the footage of the Argyll panther that had us all so entranced last week. This week will be far more exciting, I promise.

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