The Londoner: Vandals make election mark

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Candidates love sticking them up but during this election campaign posters have been torn down, ripped up and defaced like never before. “It’s worse than in 2017,” Labour’s Preet Gill tells The Londoner. Several of her posters in Birmingham Edgbaston have been attacked, and ​CCTV also captured the moment “a man went into my friend’s garden and ripped out her poster”, Gill adds.

Vandals are cross-party as Tories and Lib Dems have also been targeted. Anne-Marie Trevelyan, a defence minister and candidate for Berwick upon Tweed, posted photos of a moustache drawn on one of her posters. She added: “Apparently, another poster of mine now has Bugs Bunny teeth... shall go and see if the vandals have improved me.” Trevelyan told The Londoner: “It is always frustrating to find that vandals have defaced posters.”

Another victim of poster defacers was Tory candidate Johnny Mercer, who recently posted a video captioned “feeling a bit down this lunchtime” — the clip showed a sign of his spray-painted red with the word “t**t”. Tories Andrea Jenkyns and Daniel Kawczynski, and Lib Dem candidate Mark Williams in Wales are among those whose posters have also been attacked.

Jennifer Nadel, from new campaign group Compassion in Politics, told The Londoner: “Pent-up aggression, anger and disillusion has exploded over the last few years — partly because of the further divisions created and entrenched by Brexit, partly because of the anonymity social media offers to haters, and partly because a toxic system tends to reproduce a toxic form of politics and leadership.” But not all defacement is hostile. Tom Tugendhat, the Conservative candidate for Tunbridge Wells, has a poster of his altered almost every day.

Pranksters have stuck Elvis Presley, Elton John and Buzz Lightyear over Tugendhat’s face. He told The Londoner: “They say politics is showbusiness for ugly people — but at least in Leybourn they’ve improved the look of their candidate.” Who’d have thought it? Three cheers for Tunbridge Wells.

Artist wants Margaret Thatcher's bust back

“The original bronze bust of Margaret Thatcher should be given back to me,” says its maker, Shenda Amery — as she wants to sell it. The political artist says she only “lent it” to its present holders, the Chelsea, Kensington and Fulham Tories. Thatcher reportedly loved the artwork and displayed it in Downing Street. ​Amery says was it created as a favour for the local party but the situation has changed and she now says: “I want my bust to be sold and I pledge some proceeds will go to raise funds for the party.”

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Crooner James Blunt was in the Army — and don’t you forget it. Blunt tells BA High Life that he packs, among other things, his Army dog tags. “I wear them at all times just in case I get injured or killed. If you find my body, take one tag with you but leave the other tag in my mouth.”

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The Hands Up Foundation hosted a Singing for Syrians carol service at St Margaret’s, Westminster last night. The church, which normally hosts the cross-party Parliament Choir, apologised since “most of our regular singers are understandably busy”. Actor Tom Hollander read Dylan Thomas “in blended Welsh... complementing Thomas with the grace notes of Richard Burton”. The Londoner also heard a hint of Fireman Sam.

Oh come all ye thespians

(Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Actors Amanda Abbington, Andrea Lowe, Emily Watson and Helen George joined in song to raise money for Cancer Research UK at the St Paul’s Cathedral carol concert last night. Fellow thespians Jeremy Irons, who plays the enigmatic Adrian Veidt in HBO’s Watchmen, and Dominic West made it too. No wonder West was looking chipper — he is planning to buy a vineyard. “It’s the only good thing about global warming,” he said recently. “We will be able to keep on making sparkling wine in England.” Meanwhile, Emilia Fox embraced the festive charitable spirit as she attended the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity’s 20th annual carol concert at St Paul’s Church in Knightsbridge. Across town, Alicia Vikander and her mum Maria joined Game of Thrones actor Charles Dance to peruse the oil paintings of Irene Petrafesa at the A&D Gallery in Marylebone.

SW1A

Former Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull has sent mixed messages about what might happen to the NHS. Turnbull, who was himself accused of planning to privatise Australian Medicare in 2016, dismissed claims that the Tories would try to sell off the NHS as “absurd”. But he then admitted that Johnson would be “under a lot of pressure” from “very powerful and very well-funded” US pharmaceutical companies during post-Brexit trade negotiations. Hmm.

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Michael Heseltine thinks Brexit may happen but it won’t last. “A generation from now we will go back into Europe,” he tells James O’Brien’s podcast. Bring on the 2036 referendum.

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“Michael Gove — A stong local voice for Surrey Heath,” boasts a misspelt leaflet for the former education secretary. No doubt Gove, who once sent civil servant his “Golden Rules” on proper grammar, will blush. The Londoner would never have such poblems.

Portrait of a drag artist as a young man

Julian Clary, tricked out in a natty jacket and magenta tie, attended the unveiling of his portrait on the London Palladium’s Wall of Fame by Andrew Lloyd Webber yesterday. “I’m glad one of us made the effort,” Clary said, referring to his lordship’s jeans and zip-up top. “I haven’t been inducted before... I also haven’t been pressed against a wall since my night out with Harry Styles.” Clary’s co-stars and friends braved the drizzle for the unveiling, to see, as Clary put it, “a 60-year-old homosexual made very happy”.

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