A timely reminder of the importance for any candidate or agent to check, check and check again!
Like poor Joy Atkins, our candidate in the Bradford North Parliamentary By Election in 1990. Her main election leaflet carried a large photograph of her standing in front of trees and a dry stone wall. It was lovely! Until the press got hold of the original version which showed she was standing in the middle of a cemetery and we had cropped out the gravestones.
During the lead up to the 2010 GE a photographer wanted to take a picture of Tracey with her campaign team. We gathered in Walderslade Village with our balloons and posters. The photographer was insistent that we stood in a particular place. My suspicions were aroused and I started scanning shop signs, posters and A boards looking for the faux-pas which I feared would haunt me for years to come. Just as the photo was about to be taken, I spotted it. A poster in a shop window advertising a local pawnbroker was visible directly behind Tracey's head: "Ashcroft: for all your financial needs."
A few months later we were to welcome David Cameron to the constituency for Cameron Direct. We had hired a local church hall and had been working with the CCHQ events team for a few hours setting everything up. The seating, staging and lectern were all in place and the local media and 150 guests about to arrive. I stood at the back of the room and (seeking heavenly inspiration) my eyes looked upwards. And there it was! High on the wall but directly above the lectern were DC would be speaking was an evangelical poster proclaiming, in massive lettering:
"LISTEN TO THE LORD, FOR HE IS SPEAKING TO YOU"
There was no ladder, so as I held the press and public outside, a slim lady from CCHQ was hoisted onto the broad shoulders of a CCHQ rugger bugger, who then climbed onto a chair (health and safety be damned) and the poster was removed, saving DC some very unwelcome comparisons and denying the press a photo-op they would have loved!