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Tories board hi-tech battle bus

'Roaming tactical unit' hits the road

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If you've ever wondered just how it is that Michael Howard and Oliver Letwin formulate on-the-fly policies regarding Council Tax while tirelessly gladhanding in different parts of country during the the no-holds-barred slanging match which is otherwise known as a "pre-election campaign", then brace yourself for a comms kit overload.

According to a breathless press release just in, it's all down to a mobile "tactical" video conferencing unit aboard the Tory "Battle Bus" via which Howard communicates with his colleagues and advisors. Apparently, "the system gives Howard and his advisors the capability to meet for face-to-face consultation (and share data) even while the leader is on the road. Obviously, this is handy in terms of discussing strategy and tactics as campaign events unfold, and agreeing on decisions in real time."

Blimey. The gear in question is seemingly the same as that used by the military and doctors working in "remote and extreme locations". Should survive a campaign trip to Middlesboro, then. It features a "rugged, watertight carry-on size case" and boasts "15.4-inch WXGA video screen, storage space for a laptop or satellite modem, CD-quality audio and embedded security".

Video conferencing comms are via satellite IP set-up courtesy of TANDBERG (press release CAPS, btw) and Margolis. It's all part of a Conservative information octopus with limbs streching to "Conservative Party HQ boardroom (for the use of the Shadow Cabinet), in Liam Fox's* office, in the party office in Birmingham and in a undisclosed London hotel".

The press release promises some pictures of the "mobile 'tactical' video conferencing unit" in action in the near future, but everyone knows that Nosferatu don't appear in photogr...

No, in the interests of balanced reporting, we're going to nip that one in the bud. And you'll get no quips about boxes filled with Romanian soil aboard the Battle Bus, either.

And just to prove that we are entirely even-handed in the run-up to Election 2005™, here's one example of a hi-tech piece of kit you will never see aboard a Conservative pre-election charabanc: the biometric ID card. Of course, they'll be entirely unnecessary under a Tory regime because all of the illegal immigrants will have been beaten into the English Channel by riot police... [You're fired - Ed] ®

*Samantha Fox's lesser-known brother, according to our political database.

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