The Thick Of It

G found herself in the midst of political history on Friday. She was there with me as I covered the verdict in the Phil Woolas election court case for one of my other websites, Saddleworth News.
The picture shows G enjoying her milk from a cup as we all waited for Mr Woolas to give a news conference, just after the judges had announced they were declaring his election victory void because he'd used campaign leaflets to spread lies about one of his opponents. The journalists in the room, many of whom were from the big national news organisations, were both amused and surprised to see a baby there with them. I don't think little ones are usually allowed into Downing Street or the High Court. One of the security staff even asked if I was covering it for CBeebies. Obviously that was impossible, because the BBC were on strike on Friday.
The verdict itself had proved to be a bit of a balancing act. Obviously I couldn't go in the main hall where the action was because I was looking after G, but the council press team generously let me into a side room so I could hear what was happening. As the judges delivered their historic verdict, I was trying to peek through a gap in the door, listen to what they were saying, write updates for the Saddleworth News Twitter feed, and keep G quiet with the help of a toy car all at the same time. Who says dads can't multi-task eh?
In the past I've often criticised Sky, where I used to work, for generally buggering up important live events for viewers and listeners by having their news helicopter hovering overhead, making it impossible to hear what the person is actually saying. I now take it all back, because my daughter managed to gurgle away during the statements by Mr Woolas and his solicitor, which they delivered shortly after this photo was taken. I didn't actually notice at the time (I was crouched down at the front taking photos), but when I heard it back on the news later, there was an unmistakeable "gagagaga" in the background. Sorry, everyone.
It actually got worse a bit later, when the candidate who brought the legal challenge, Elwyn Watkins, emerged to give his own address to the media. As he began his speech by talking about what a historic moment it was, there was that "gagagaga" again. Oh dear. If you want to hear the evidence for yourself, check out this video report of the day.
G didn't just settle for making an audio contribution to these dramatic events though. She was visible on all the main news bulletins that night, sitting contentedly in her pram as Mr Woolas walked past her at the end of his news conference, to the sound of journalists shouting, "Are you a cheat Mr Woolas?" and suchlike. Next time, maybe it'll be G asking the questions. It might be a bit early to think about career choices, but she's already had plenty of media training.