As if there was any doubt, the 2007 election campaign can now officially be declared under way. Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd is now not just dancing on television but appearing on it wearing a silly hat.

The occasion was this week’s launch of a Labor Party business innovation policy with Mr Rudd walking around some kind of factory or other for the cameras with a white hair net on his head accompanied by Maxine McKew.

The pair looked positively embarrassed parading in their matching blue dust jackets and viewers were given not the foggiest clue what the stunt was meant to be about. Perhaps it was just a way of disproving Alexander Downer’s allegation that the Labor leader is the vainest man in politics. True vanity would not have permitted such a spectacle although it always amazes me what politicians will do to get their picture taken when on the campaign trail.

Perhaps what Mr Rudd needs on his staff to prevent such embarrassments in future is a new advance man instead of a replacement for the economist who Malcolm Farr in the Daily Telegraph reported yesterday had left his employ.

Jeremy Lawson, a senior economist with the Reserve Bank before joining Mr Rudd, left “over working conditions and differences of opinion with Mr Rudd and others in his office.” To my mind the staff member bearing the brunt of any wrath should have been the one who chose a factory where you have to put on a funny hat to provide a photo opportunity.

And while on the subject of funny head gear, any decent advance man would not allow his boss to be subjected to the oversized headphones wrapped around John Howard’s head in a radio studio yesterday.

They made the Prime Minister look like Mickey Mouse with the image so distracting that I for one failed to register from the television version what words of importance he was uttering.