This blog has once or twice gently pointed out that Tory candidate and North Yorkshire toff Edward LeGrand is, ahem, not the busiest politician we have ever seen. Months at a time have gone by since his selection in January 2008, when the town has had neither sight nor sound from him.
When Spectator's Notes in the dear old D&S Times picked up the theme, Cpt LeGrand reacted like a scalded cockerel. His letter on Friday, entitled My Record, lists the many things that he has been up to "in recent weeks and months".
Which would be absolutely fine, were we not able to check some of this stuff up, via Google and indeed this blog. So here's the same list of Laggard's 'achievements', this time with the dates appended;
Campaigning against post office closures - February 2008
Setting up a Darlington Job Club - March 2009
Meeting residents plagued with anti-social behaviour - June 2008
Campaigning against the withdrawal of free bus travel for pensioners - June 2008.
Clearly, time takes on a different quality when you're a Tory!
I could go on. With the General Election almost upon us, Edward is, finally, beginning to stir himself into action, and attending the odd meeting. Unfortunately, the overall impression he has left in the 2 years he has been a PPC - frankly that he is a part-time candidate in a no-hope seat for the Tories - has stuck, and it can't be shifted now. In the battle for second place, LibDem Mike Barker has been a far more energetic and clever PPC, leaving the Tories looking like also-rans.
Edward Legard's letter is curious in another respect. He states that "whether through family connections; work or from the time when stationed in Catterick, I have known Darlington all my life and am ideally placed to represent its interests within the North East."
The trouble is that when candidates pledge their undying and non-transferable love for a constituency like this, we can check their background. And as an anonymous commentor on this blog has pointed out via a newspaper link, Edward was apparently also "ideally placed to represent the interests" of Sunderland Central back in July 2007.
Less a devoted suitor, and more, well, a carpet bagger, I guess. Presumably the Tories in Sunderland wanted a more active candidate in what is a genuinely marginal seat for them?
Labour's PPC Jenny Chapman, of course, is properly local to Darlington, and hasn't schlepped around other constituencies looking for a berth.
Finally, as if to prove that the Tories' ill-starred candidate just hasn't got any luck at all, there's a cruel twist on Wikipedia. Some loyal Tory hack - maybe Edward himself? - has been trying to put an biography of our favourite aristo on the site, only to have it deleted three times by site moderators. The reason - he is a "non notable local politician."
Ah, Edward - I know exactly how you feel!