THEY are under starters orders and the Grand National…sorry Westminster election campaign… is underway. Who will make the early running? And who can stay the course without unseating their rider?
Everyone and their granny knew the date of the election before Gordon trotted off to meet Elizabeth II at Buck House: in the same way as everyone knows when the Grand National gets underway each year.
The media has been suitably breathless in its coverage, with political editors and commentators deployed like Roman legionnaires, tightly packed awaiting a soundbite and dreaming of a gaffe from a significant candidate.
But even the most devoted politics ‘fan’ must already be reeling from the election onslaught.
After the weeks of the phoney campaign the media has kicked into high gear. There won’t be a battle bus journey, flight to remoteness, baby safe from kissing or press conference that won’t be dissected, analysed and commented upon for the next few short, in terms of the calendar, but lengthy in every other way, weeks.
Just as the Grand National is a four mile plus marathon for horse and rider, so the election weeks will be a marathon race for the candidates and, especially for the party leaders; each hoping to stay the course.
Meanwhile there’s to be a council by-election in Castlereagh on May 6 ….