Tara Hamilton-Miller: Campaign ends in photo finish

It is interesting how the three party leaders have chosen to be represented pictorially during the election campaign.

Tara Hamilton-Miller
Tara Hamilton-Miller

There was a thoroughly modern image of David and Samantha Cameron on the tour bus. Samantha Cameron, in a shabbily chic charcoal sweater, lies across her husband's outstretched legs. This gives the voter one of the most intimate pictures of a political couple ever. All very Boden catalogue.

Nick Clegg's photo opportunity was with actor Colin Firth, having tea in Putney. You must be confident to sit opposite Mr Darcy and hold your own in the chiselled-jaw stakes. They were no doubt making plans for their post-election Handsome Boys' Club.

The paranoia of presentation has been visible over the past four weeks. Just before the BBC debate last week, the Prime Minister's team decided they did not want Press Association photographer Stefan Rousseau to cover the debate, on the grounds that they didn't like a photograph he had taken during the campaign. They got tribal and kicked up a fuss.

Rousseau is a professional, respected photographer who followed Tony Blair for nine years. He has been Press Photographer of the Year for the past two years running. The attitude should have been that he is a professional - like him or not, we will accept him.

Team Brown won and someone else took the pictures. These days Brown is utterly enfeebled. If that is as far as his sphere of influence goes, it shows the limits of his ability. It is almost sad. This is the man who was the arch manipulator, who spent every waking moment waiting for the keys to Number 10. Even Jeremy Paxman struggled to fight him; it would somehow seem unfair.

Labour lost it in the presentation last week (the car crash was not its fault). No longer writing its own story, it is being told it.

All it can influence is the person who takes the photograph that takes Brown one step closer to opposition. Brown will be a footnote in the Blair chapters of history.

Tara Hamilton-Miller is a political adviser and formerly worked for the Conservative Party press team

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