Volcanic refugees witness return of the King

Spooked by aliens David Williams says the election campaign is getting surreal

I can confirm today that Elvis is back in the Building! One of the greatest singers and entertainers ever has returned to earth 33 years after his death to lend his support to a Labour Party struggling not to come last in this all-important general election. I know this to be true because it was on the television where it really matters and where the outcome of next week’s election will be determined.

It was the latest surreal moment in what has become a very unreal world where volcanoes in Iceland – Eyjafjallajokull to you – blow up grounding aeroplanes and leaving thousands of Brits stranded abroad and unable to tune into the all important TV Leaders Debates back home.

Think what it’s like for those poor people returning to the UK only to find that something quite extraordinary – more extraordinary even than that volcano eruption – has happened while they’ve been away – Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats are leading in the polls.

What on earth is going on?

Pity those poor returning and exhausted holidaymakers trying to come to terms with the effects of a political as well as a glacial earthquake only to be hit by further after shocks, some of them with a distinct extraterrestrial feel about them.

Those hapless returnees open their newspapers to find Professor Stephen Hawking CH, CBE, FRS, FRSA, one of the world’s best known theoretical physicists, warning people against contacting aliens in case they try and invade earth.

Given what they’ve been through and what they’ve found on their return, the volcanic refugees could be forgiven for thinking that contact with another world has already been made in their absence. Not only that, someone with a perverted sense of humour has pointed the aliens to Nick Clegg as their leader.

But what other evidence is there of extrapolitical activity?

That’s where Elvis comes in. I swear I saw him  – Elvis that is – standing behind Gordon Brown at a weekend Labour party rally. He wasn’t just standing there he was singing and I’m pretty sure I heard the lyrics from ‘The Wonder of You’ drifting across Brown’s shoulder.

Even spookier was the apparent disinterest of the Prime Minister who was taking no notice of the White Suited figure floating around behind him. I couldn’t figure out whether Mr. Brown was just pretending not to notice the crooner or whether he was only visible to those true believers who have longed for the return of the King. And I swear, as someone who could see the musical monarch, that he was mouthing these words:

When no-one else can understand me

When everything I do is wrong

You give me hope and consolation

You give me strength to carry on…..and so on…..and so on.

I appreciate that at this point you may think that I’ve taken leave of my senses, but I assure you that my faculties, for what they’re worth, are still in working order. The scene just described above featured on the BBC News at the weekend and, as an ex-BBC Political Editor, I know there are strict rules governing the Corporation during an election.

You just cannot make these things up. Well, not during an election anyway! Talking of those rules which govern fair and unbiased coverage at election time, it occurred to me, following the appearance of Elvis, that the BBC will now have to think very carefully about giving equal prominence and time to other dead singers accompanying the other political leaders.

Suggestions on a postcard or by e-mail to Broadcasting House.

But if they are to move into the same league as Labour, the Lib Dems will have to up their game from having candidates and leading figures photographed with actors pretending to be policemen or nurses. Why not go for the real ‘dead’ thing. They could have Dixon of Dock Green or Hattie Jacques livening up those dull election leaflets instead of dragging in some poor unsuspecting extra for a staged photo opportunity.

In the last Great TV Debate Gordon Brown had some good advice for the Lib Dems: “Get real Nick,” said the Prime Minister. I think old Clunking Fist may have been referring to the Lib Dems policy on nuclear deterrence rather than suggesting how best to organise photo opportunities, but I will not go there.

Instead, and in anticipation of the next unbelievable intervention in this outstandingly fascinating, if unreal, political contest, I close with the words of Elvis. I hope these will resonate with all the political leaders – including Ieuan – as the last week of campaigning gets under way. The King ended his brief return to earth with these words:

I’ll guess I’ll never know the reason why

You love me like you do

That’s the wonder

The wonder of you.

Roll on polling day!

David Williams is an independent television presenter and producer and former Political Editor with BBC Wales

Also within Politics and Policy