James M emails with a sighting of Dave Rowntree in the Guardian's election coverage:
Having put himself forward, unsuccessfully, for the safe Labour seat of Liverpool West Derby, Rowntree is now contesting a seat which would've been difficult enough in previous elections. Given Labour's current standing, it's best to file it under the "completely unwinnable" category. However, it's refreshing to see a Labour candidate as defiantly off-message as Rowntree.
Dave almost implies he joined Labour because he couldn't sleep:
"It was pretty much a mid-life crisis," the 45-year-old said, swivelling on a chair at his campaign headquarters in the plush offices of a Soho media firm. "There was a fairly well-documented split in the band, I was turning 40, and I was going from having no time on my hands to having rather a lot. And I started waking up with that angsty feeling at four in the morning, going, 'Oh my God, I've wasted my life.' I had to do something about that. And so I started turning up at the local Labour party."
Dave doesn't trust the other high-profile Dave on the campaign:
Rowntree is amused by any politician who tries to turn music into political capital. He chuckles in particular at David Cameron's professed passion for the Smiths. "He's a Smiths tourist," says the drummer, cheeks creased with a knowing grin. "Real Smiths fans dress a certain kind of way, and they have a certain kind of haircut, and they wear certain kinds of T-shirts. But what they probably don't do is have their picture taken outside the Salford Lads Club.
"Politicians," Rowntree admits, "do have to try and present themselves as ordinary people. But you need to do that in a way which makes you look least like an arse."
Rowntree also has a pop at Blair, and the whole idea of New Labour inviting the likes of Alan McGee and Noel to hang out at number 10 - "we never said Britannia was cool" he says. He doesn't mention Noel Gallagher by name.
Rowntree is standing in the Cities of London and Westminster; he'd have to overturn a Tory majority of over 8,000 before he'd get a chance to make a maiden speech.