Peter Hoskin

When the going gets weird, the weird hire an Elvis impersonator

When the going gets weird, the weird hire an Elvis impersonator
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Really, what's happened to the Labour campaign?  You know things are taking a turn for the worse when you read that Gordon Brown is taking a more high profile role to save his party from a third-place finish.  But then you see that high profile role in action, and, well ...

First there was an event which incorporated some deliciously ironic innuendo about the Tories' spending cuts.  The PM lamented the fact that Jeremy Paxman didn't press the Tory leader on claims that there is "too much" public spending in Northern Ireland and the North East, concluding that "there is no part of the United Kingdom that is safe from what the Conservative party would do."  And this from a government which hasn't released a much-needed spending review – so we don't have a clue where their cuts will fall.  Hm.

But that was nothing next to Brown's photo opp alongside an Elvis impersonator.  I repeat: an Elvis impersonator.  I'm not sure whether it was a stunt to grab Gordon some attention, or whether it was some arch comment on the nature of celebrity politics.  Either way, this is certainly one of the most unnerving, droolingly bizarre moments of the campaign so far.  I don't blame Nick Clegg for taking a day out from this – we should probably follow his lead.

One thing this election circus is achieving is to undermine the Labour campaign team's streetwise, all-conquering reputation.  Yes, they have, in some way, done well to hang on in there.  But the very real possibility of them finishing third hardly speaks to any genuine success.  And nor does this, erm, Elvis gambit.  Not flash, just embarrassing.

P.S. Apologies to Hunter S. Thompson for the headline.