01x02 - Episode 2

What Nick is offering today, these are not promises, not mere pledges.

These are red lines of total, unrubbable - er, outable - red... redness. Er...

Right. I know it's not easy being a Liberal right now, and, of course, this constituency contains a lot of students, so you will experience some bad language.

Possibly some spitting. But Lucy, this time, no spitting back.

Because if that nun had gone to the Daily Mail, we'd have been toast.

Now, I know the so-called opinion polls don't give us much hope, but I want you to remember something.

Headingley, 1981. The Ashes.

Now, the English cricket team are...

Well, they've been written off. But are they?

Ian Botham walks to the crease and plucks victory from the jaws of defeat.

Now, we don't need to pluck victory. Just... well, respectability. So, you know, let's pluck that. OK.

What's the watchword for today?

Respectability! Actually, it's Headingley. OK?

Er... Team roar!

Waaaaargh! Aaaaaargh!

My name is...

Daisy. "Totes fangirling "over the amazeballs Ed Milibabe "cos of his dreamy eyes, his dark hair "and his fully costed plan "to abolish stamp duty for first-time buyers."

Just over a week to go.

It's about now that we usually f*ck things up.

God, yeah. Remember Kinnock trying to be a rock star in Sheffield?

Gillian Duffy and the radio mic.

Gordon should never have gone to her house to apologise.

I know. Or if he had to go, it should have been to whack her with a shovel and bury her in the garden.

It was a joke, Mel, you know?

OK, Jack. Just remember that jokes about violence against women could alienate female voters.

But it was only me saying it here in private.

Yeah, it's the age of Twitter, Jack.

You crack the wrong joke in front of the wrong person, suddenly the big story is Jack-gate.

Oh, FYI, team, the strategy module feels that the campaign has turned a bit vanilla, you know?

It could do with more poetry, something soundbitey.

Like, say, Clinton's "I was born in a place called Hope".

Oh, where was Ed born?

Bloomsbury. Oh. OK.

Well, always worth asking the question.

Where'd he go to school?

Chalk Farm. Oh, OK. Right.

Does he have a dog? No.

OK, right. OK, so just a quick reminder, guys.

Nigel is very happy to talk about his testicular cancer, but please, please just stay off the economy.

If you'd like to make your way to the event, where I've laid on a dynamic and vibrant itinerary.

Great, thanks for coming. There you are. Thanks so much for coming.

Won't take two ticks.

Hey, Sue. Sue. Yeah, yeah, good.

Um, have the Sundays got anything on us? Have you heard?

Have the Tories got anything left in their shit-bank?

Not that I know of, no. Why? Is there something that could come out?

No, no, no. Nothing. Nothing.

Er, what's that? Oh, that's...

It's just a boring administrative thing. OK.

Great to see you. Thanks so much for coming. That's it, no stragglers!

Come on, don't want to miss Nigel!

Come on, move yourself.

Thank you so much for coming. Thanks for coming. Dave will take you over.

Do be careful, won't you, Sue?

Bye! Bye!

Bye, you two-faced establishment bastards.

Scotland. Why are we here, wooing the Scots?

What's the point? They hate us, we hate them.

Well, we have to campaign... It's bad enough having to visit the North.

At least we found the odd Tory voter in those old people's homes.

Here you've got more chance of spotting a pine marten.

The only worthwhile trip to Scotland was the one that ended at Culloden.

There's a new political engagement since the referendum.

When we get off the bus, I think you might be pleasantly surprised.

Get off the bus?

Are you mad? We need to ease off the negative stuff.

Women in particular - they don't like the name-calling.

You haven't met Max Worth, then?

It's very interesting, you saying that. Tell me, in terms of targeting women as regards our political strategy, from your expert perspective, do you think that David Cameron should show Samantha off more?

She should be welded to his arm.

She's much more attractive than...

Miliband's one.

She's called Justine.

And I really don't think...

God, that's a shock.

Never thought you'd be able to get the internet in Scotland.

Oh, David Cameron's announcing more apprenticeships.

Oh, God, I hope it's not pumped-up Dave.

Waving your fists about and swearing wildly is not the same as passion.

Well, it is on television. And why does he keep rolling his sleeves up?

He's not a ruddy gynaecologist.

Oh, it's Grant Shapps. Or is it?

Last nights ten o'clock news on BBC One, yes.

No, the compliance unit passed me on to you.

Cos I was timing it.

They got 12 minutes and 5 seconds.

We got precisely zero minutes and zero seconds.

Well, I know the Nepalese are having a rough time, but you are the British Broadcasting Cor...

Well, I don't agree.

And I should warn you that when Ukip holds the balance of power and the BBC's charter is up for renewal, this conversation will be remembered. OK?

Oh, so while I've got you, your colleague mentioned something about tickets for the Antiques Roadshow?

Great. Tremendous.

That is an actual record.

Not a single Lib Dem mention in the Telegraph.

If Vince Cable dropped dead, they wouldn't even give us an obituary.

Oh, we're in the Mail.

Page nine. Really?

Does it mention Nick's red lines?

Er, no, it's his wife's dress.

Oh. What's the headline?

"Miriam blooms..."

"Miriam blooms." What else does it say? No, nothing.

Charlotte, I'm a grown man.

Tell me the headline.

"Miriam blooms, but wilting Nick expects to lose 20 seats."

Mm, it is a lovely dress. Only 20?

Actually, that'd be pretty good.

Christ. I can't believe I've reached the point where I'm happy about losing 20... Actually, that is a lovely dress. Mm.

Yes. No. Right, but it's just that...

It's just that we sent that text out, didn't we?

About members not putting personal opinions on Twitter.

And you have actually tweeted quite a lot of opinion. No, you have.

I mean, the most recent being the one about foreign prostitutes putting British prostitutes out of work.

Yeah, well, I'm...

I'm sure the language difficulties lead to misunderstandings.

Right, well, I'm not...

I'm not actually interested in...

Right, the bottom line is, Nigel wants you to unplug your modem till after polling day.

Yes. OK. Sorry, just hang on a second.

Hang on. Kate?

Kate! Who is that? It's Mike Read.

He's written us a new song.

Oh, God. I'm going to call you back.

Hi, Mikey.

Hello. Yeah, Jerry.

You've written another song?

Is it another calypso?

Oh, good.

Yeah. Yeah, I do know the song Goodness Gracious Me.

No, no, no, you don't need to sing it for me.

No, I know all of the w...

Yeah, that really does sound like the way Peter Sellers used to sing it.

Blame it on the Liberals.

Shouldn't keep the bus engine running.

Scottish Greens have been following us around, filming it.

We have to keep the engine running because, A, the bus gets boiling with no air con, and, B, we might have to make a quick getaway.

Coffee, anyone? Please.

What network are you on? O2. You?

O2. Such bollocks. Hm?

Oh, it's just Boris. You may not like him, but he polls well with women.

Why? Do British women have a fantasy that a tubby bloke is going to turn up on a bike and talk dirty to them in Latin?

Fortissimo Lungo's wicked.

Anything with caffeine in it.

Our cleaner likes the Decaffeinato Vivalto Lungo.

Well, that doesn't have caffeine in it. Where's Cameron tomorrow?

He's scheduled to visit a fish market in the north-east.

Now, you see, Boris could carry that off.

He'd clown around with some mackerel or juggle some eels or something.

Yeah, but would you trust Boris with the nuclear button?

He'd probably activate it by accident with his secretary's arse.

What is his game? Mm?

Boris this, Boris that.

It's like he's his f*cking agent.


Make coffee.

Make coffee.

No, it's not voice activated.

He's always asking about Cameron's schedule, have you noticed? Not really.

I think he's Boris's mole.

Are you really suggesting someone would plot against the leadership during an election campaign?

You're new to politics, aren't you?

Yeah, but I'm not new to being patronised.

Careful, Martin.

Got to keep her onside until election day. What for?

She's only here so we can say we've got a women's issues consultant, isn't she? Yeah.

Pity we didn't get our first choice.

Well, he wasn't available.

No.

And on the basis of our private polls, we're no longer putting resources into the places where we have absolutely no chance.

So we're sacrificing Siddle Valley, Walchester North and Scotland.

OK, now, in the marginal we're headed to tomorrow, we've got traditional working-class voters who don't trust us on immigration, but also concentrations of immigrants where the vote is softening.

So any ideas?

We do pro-immigration leaflets in Urdu, or whatever, and anti-immigration ones in English.

Any ideas that aren't stupid?

I reckon we tell them their problems are nothing to do with immigration and it's all about social inequalities created by the Tories.

That's an interesting idea, Jack, and I totally get where you're coming from, but I think the question you have to ask yourself is, would he get it?

Sorry, would who get it? Him.

Gonk.

Gonk? Yes.

Would Jack's suggestion make sense to an inanimate object? Yes.

Gonk's seen elections all over the world. You see, he's emblematic.

Gonk encapsulates the typical Joe voter.

He heard what Jack just said, but he doesn't get it.

When you say Gonk doesn't get it, you mean you don't get it.

No, I get it, because I'm a political imagineer and purposologist.

But Gonk lives in a trailer with a pit bull, so convince him.

Go on. Pitch!

Erm... Gonk blames immigrants for all his problems.

Look, Gonk, I think we can...

Too late. Gonk's voting Ukip.

Yeah, but... He's pulling that Ukip lever. We don't vote with levers.

You know, y'all are doing a brilliant job, you are, but you guys are campaign.

You know, the boiler room.

But I'm strategy. The big picture.

And the big picture is that every message we're sending out from now on has to be Gonk friendly.

Now, can we do that? Hell, yes!

Hey, you, what's up?

Yeah, any word on Hillary putting a team together?

Erm, FYI, it's possible I may have to kill her.

Alastair Campbell had one of them.

What, a Gonk? No, he had John Prescott.

"Pitch it so even Prescott can understand it," he'd say.

Wasn't easy.

Red lines.

Danny Alexander... imbicile!

Are you on the phone to the French press? No.

You're talking in French. No.

Ah!

Here's an idea, sexual abuse.

What?

As a vote winning topic, sexual abuse of white women by Asian men.

When I mention it it gets a huge response.

It certainly did when you mentioned it to Councillor Hussein.

We should start an I've Been Interfered With By An Asian hotline.

We won't call it that, obviously.

Go for something a bit more nuanced.

This is a serious topic, OK? It needs careful handling.

No, no! My pie chart of BBC bias, all of my work!

Perhaps I can help?

That's all I need.

I will have to grovel to some smug IT b*st*rd.

Oh! Obi, how did you do that?

You're a total star!

I used the force.

Genius, you are!

Oh, brilliant.

Sorry. I didn't mean to...

It's fine, you're OK.

I was just grabbing a few moments of mindfulness.

Oh, right.

You know, the campaign is such a maelstrom of pressure and chaos, I find just a few moments of being still, being aware of yourself in space and time, just helps keep you centred. Serene.

I've got the latest polls.

Shall I just leave them with you?

No, take them away.

I also have the latest seat projections for the South West.

I need the toilet, sorry. Oh!

There she is, our future Lib Dem Prime Minister.

Everything good? I've got the latest polls here.

Have you? Excellent.

Now could you let Kevin know that Nick Clegg won't be joining us for tomorrow's walk about?

OK. He's cried off?

Not as such, no.

The candidate felt that possibly having Nick at his side might not be as valuable as not having Nick at his side.

I see. Anyhow...

Actually, Simon...

I'm a bit worried about Kevin.

He seems to be experiencing some very extreme mood swings.

Well, that's what comes with talent, I suppose. What?!

Look at Stephen Fry and Tchaikovsky, Tony Hancock, Kurt Cobain, Van Gogh, all had to ride that rollercoaster, but look what they did.

In the case of the last three, killing themselves.

Actually, and Tchaikovsky.

Shouldn't we maybe...

No, the best thing is for us to give Kevin enough space to activate his own coping mechanisms.

But thank you for keeping me in the loop!

You also said you would look to the problems on the bus.

The casing has come off the router.

I tell you what...

Yeah, yeah. Why don't I just e-mail my resume to Hilary's people?

Yeah. Yeah!

No, no. I am totally available.

I am out of here May 7, come rain or shine. Probably rain!

How much do you suppose she's on, that Yank guru masterminding our campaign?

Apparently we're paying her over 200 grand.

I reckon Axelrod only got hired because he has "axe" in his name.

But if he was called Curtainrod or Drainrod...

"Great news, guys, we've got the Drain!"

Our private polls say Ed is up to minus 16.

He is doing quite well now.

Isn't he?

I don't trust any of this stuff.

He's still basically got the same approval rating that Iain Duncan Smith had.

Who's Iain Duncan Smith? Exactly.

There's all this "milifandom" thing.

Teenage girls love him because he has big eyes like a puppy and he's asexual.

But they don't have a vote.

Yeah, but...

There's no election in history where 15-year-old girls have been a decisive factory, unless you count Berlusconi.

Hey, guys. Twitter says Ed's been seen leaving Russell Brand's house.

Maybe Russell is going to get his followers to vote Labour.

The ones he told not to vote?

And now the registration deadline has passed, so...

That's negative. Ed is changing perceptions of himself.

Maybe, but why aren't the numbers shifting?

Strategy is more than numbers.

We have to escape the media echo chamber and look at the meta-narrative, which is, "Ed is growing in confidence."

He's getting overconfident.

He's turning cocky.

His smile is smug and smirky.

It draws attention to his mouth.

Can we stay off the mouth?

He is one step away from attempting a joke and that way disaster lies.

Big boost for the Greens.

Natalie Bennett has lost her voice.

"FML, why is Ed married?

"Because I so love his plans to limit immigration "within 100 days of taking office."

There's another couple of people we may have to suspend, but let's just wait until the royal baby drops.

This pie and skittles fundraiser at the Georgian Dragon, they want to know if we can send a celebrity.

I'll see who's available.

I'm sure they all will be.

So, we've got Jeff Boycott, Joan Collins, Tim Rice, Rusty Lee.

It's like a sh1t episode of I'm A Celebrity.

Besides, haven't most of them disowned us?

Apparently there's a chap who did an interview in the Independent and said he was a Ukip supporter... Ian Brady.

Didn't he used to be in EastEnders?

No, a singer with the Housemartins.

No, played for Arsenal.

No, that's Liam Brady.

Not Ian Brady the moors murderer?

It is him!

Great, so Ukip have got a celebrity endorsement from Britain's most hated serial killer.

He does endorse the SNP as well.

Oh, well, that's fine then.

You're with David now, are you?

Good, I've got the crib for him.

He supports Aston Villa... they play at Villa Park.

That's in Birmingham.

They're in the FA Cup final, and finally, just in case, that's "football".

What idiot put West Ham on the autocue?

And what idiot read it out?

He's fighting this election on cruise control.

You've just called our elected leader... An idiot, yes.

And the people who surround him?

Couldn't even put together a proper fake letter from small businesses.

Come on! That's page one.

This wouldn't happen if Boris was in charge.

No, because Boris never f*cks up!

Did you see him on Andrew Marr?

He made Ed Miliband look like a... person.

Boris was his rumbustious self.

He sounded like an orang-utan someone's tried to teach English.

You can't say that.

All that pointing and stuttering, in the end it was just making noises.

"Wub wub wub wub!"

Do you want a PM at a G8 summit who sounds like an exploding baby?

It's the Indy.

Yes? Yes, Boris was brilliant, you can quote me on that.

Wiped the floor with him.

"I'm not having a stroke, I'm just ridiculously posh."

You're talking about the party's new leader.

You've decided, have you?

No, Rupert Murdoch has.

And he runs Britain, does he?

Yes, obviously.

Well, the polls are a bit... unreliable.

I think "annihilated" is possibly a bit strong.

Let me just see if Kevin's become available.

Yeah, Kevin says that, erm...

In the microclimates of the south-west constituencies the incumbency factor will shore up our vote.

What is this for?

It's my Most Likely To Say Something f*cking Stupid chart, like an early warning system.

So, all the candidates are graded from green to red.

And there's only three green left anyway now.

So what is your actual job?

Risk control.

Control, so you are Darth Vader?

No, you are!

"Seize him!"

I think life would be simpler if Darth Vader was our leader, we'd have some proper control.

"Kill Michael Gove. Vaporise Evan Davis.

"Kill Stephen Fry.

Eliminate..."

I just left my, erm... coat.

I wasn't being homophobic, I was being Darth Vader.

It's just a silly game, Sue.

I was playing with my friend.

He's from Africa.