CHARLIE WHELAN'S Racing Card

Article excerpt

The Bet: How many seats will the parties win at the election?

I didn't bother to attend the party press conferences earlier in the week because I was fed up with listening to the finest journalists in the country repeating the same questions about Europe. Do they really think that Gordon Brown will slip up? It is not just William Hague who has misjudged the mood of the country. The voters have little interest in Europe during this election, yet it is the obsession of hacks and Tories.

The other media hang-up is the very process of the election. They love talking about spin-doctors and how new Labour manipulates the media, so much so that the Guardian reported that, last week, the biggest proportion of all news reports was about the election process itself. This amounted to a huge 37.2 per cent. All the evidence is that the punters see health, education and the economy as the most important issues, so it's no wonder that even topTories such as Tim Yeo are putting their money on Labour. …