As possibly the most exciting general election campaign of all time enters its third week, I’m publishing my new Indispensable Downloadable Guide to the General Election for you to download and print out.
Keep this guide with you at all times to help you keep abreast of the daily political skirmishing between now and 6th May.
And there’s more! Thanks to the marvels of modern technology (and a bit of imagination) each copy of the Guide comes with a free CD of the Plaid Cymru campaign song CD stuck on the outside, so that when you try to peel it off you deface the cover picture of the three main party leaders.
Special features in the guide include exclusive extracts from the owner’s guide to the Liberal Democrat Battlebus, so that when it breaks down on the motorway slip-road just outside a crucial marginal constituency in the North East, you will be able, from your armchair, to make an intelligent guess about what has gone wrong.
See, also, my fascinating article on Pollsters’ Wives. Here, the women behind the senior men in Gallup, Mori and YouGov talk frankly for the first time about their lives, their opinions and also the things they remain Undecided about. They also reveal the secrets of how poll findings can be adjusted to take account of predicted turnouts, and they give fashion tips for people who expect to be stopped in the street and asked how they intend to vote.
On page 39 you will find a full-colour easy-to-follow map of the route that will be taken by Gordon Brown on his ‘spontaneous’ walkabout in Derby. There are X’s to mark the spots where you should stand to have a good chance of shaking Mr Brown’s hand as he passes.
Bothered by all the election leaflets that come through the door? Now is your chance to win a special pine-style rack to keep them in, so that you can easily refer to them and check up on your SNP candidate’s views on speed humps, or whatever.
And I’ve even managed to persuade John Prescott to write for me! On page 63, Prezza gives a step-by-step guide on how to make your own rosette. Put it on and see how it feels to be a candidate. And John Prescott also writes a fascinating article on how very little is known about the origin of rosettes in politics.
Foxed by all the graphics? There is no need to be now. The guide includes a simple user’s guide to all the pie-charts, graphs and computer-generated gimmicks that are used in television election coverage. And there is another great innovation: we publish, for the first time ever, a full-colour cross-section illustration of Jeremy Vine, with all his working parts, as he is expected to appear on election night TV. There is also detailed analysis of all the 30,000 gestures he is expected to make.
Psychology plays an increasingly important part in politics these days as the parties go to great lengths to put their message across in the most effective way. I’m proud to have secured the services of top psychologist and hustings counsellor Dr Deirdre Mackintosh who reveals, in a controversial article on page 143, that, contrary to popular belief, the colour of a candidate’s socks makes very little difference to the number of votes he or she receives in an election. It seems, furthermore, that sock colour is particularly irrelevant in seats held by the Liberal Democrats.
The important thing about this Indispensable Downloadable Guide to the General Election is that it is a practical help that you can keep with you at all times. For example, that noted psephologist Malcolm Macpherson from the University of Lochboisdale, has produced a wonderfully lucid guide to Places to Look if You Think You Have Lost Your Polling Card.
And on the big night, as you settle down to watch the results on television, I have included a list of The Seats the Tories Must Win to Stand a Chance. The names of these constituencies have been chosen to contain a large number of Os, Ds, Ps, Rs and Bs so that you can fill in the holes with a green felt-tip pen.
As a result of production problems beyond my control some readers may not be able to successfully download their guide until after the election.