I, too, recall that 1997 Lamont disaster. The writing was on the wall (literally) when the Tories were reduced to flyposting purple A4 hand-outs on boarded-up premises. Then, the Saturday lunchtime before election day, I walked into the Regency pub on the Bower Road junction (a few yards away from the Harrogate Con Club on East Parade) to find Lamont in solitary splendour. Good to see there's one media-friendly candidate, though.
One of my favourite moments from the 1997 general election campaign came when I was stood on a street corner in Harrogate, talking to a report about the challenge from Lib Dem candidate Phil Willis, who was trying to take the seat from the Conservatives. Suddenly, the journalist looked over my shoulder, muttered ‘excuse me’ and ran off down the street, partially dignified, chasing a van that had driven past behind me.
The reason? The van was that of the Conservative candidate, Norman Lamont, who had been spending the whole campaign trying to avoid talking to the press. The result? Much of the press coverage was dominated by stories of journalists trying to track him down around the constituency.
At least he had the excuse of having been Chancellor in a recession and then sacked by the Prime Minister. Some track record to try to avoid talking about.
Which means it says an awful lot about how much controversy Maria Hutchings, the 10-week abortion limit, come out of Europe, anti-equal marriage, don’t care about refugees Conservative candidate, has already accumulated such that she and her minders are now too playing the Norman Lamont game of hide and seek with the press.
And not just with the Jeremy Paxman and Michael Crick school of fierce interrogators but also from the mild-mannered and fair interviewer Norman Smith. Witness Sunday’s The World This Weekend report: