What is it with the Tories and inauspicious dates? Ukip must be sniggering at the news that the Clacton by-election is set to take place on 9 October – the same day as David Cameron’s 48th birthday (that’s only four more than the points lead Ukip have over the Conservatives in the Essex seaside resort). The by-election was called after the sitting MP Douglas Carswell upped sticks and unexpectedly deserted the Tories in favour of Nigel Farage’s Ukip.
And if we are dealing with Ukip and the Conservatives, they have almost clashing party conferences. Farage’s beer-and-fags crew will be at Doncaster Racecourse between 25-27 September for their yearly knees-up, buoyed no doubt by a good showing in Europe. Immediately afterwards, from 28 September to 1 October, the Conservatives gather at the ICC in Birmingham for their annual shindig. And it’s a swift drive down the M1 – well, 94 miles – from Donny to Brum, so hacks won’t have long to travel.
Chancellor George Osborne also got in on the date-naming act yesterday by announcing this year’s Autumn Statement on 3 December. Now, it may not have escaped the attention of our own meteorological readers that autumn actually ends two days before – on 1 December.