Simon was born in 1963 and changed his name from Keith immediately on arriving at prep school. He developed passionate left-wing views in his teens, but they soon passed. At Oxford he read PPE and occasionally wore a cravat. After a brief but stellar career in the City (eight months), management consultancy (three months) and the dolls counter at Hamleys (six days), Simon moved confidently into marketing, where he began to accrue the collection of expensive suits and slightly wild ties that fails spectacularly to mark him out from the crowd.
He began working for the Labour Party when it became clear that they were going to win.
Frequently spotted in the background of important meetings on television by his mother, Simon hopes to stand at the next election for a safe seat somewhere in the North, which he looks forward to visiting. He lives alone in London, and enjoys long walks late at night on municipal parkland.
Hair: Neat, shiny.
Shoes: Black, polished. Known to mock vulgar loafers worn by ex-estate agent Conservatives. Has heard of trainers, but only in connection with the word "personal".
Accent: Unplaceable. Public school clarity enlivened by Oxbridge certainty, with fake north London twang added for verisimilitude. Noticeable Scottish burr when talking to Gordon Brown.
Fitness: Acute. Mouth muscles especially well toned. Has been heard to boast that he "works out with the boys every day".
Home: Stark, expensive, characterless. Not there very often. Owns many pens. Hides all the remote controls in a drawer.
Car: BMW, probably paid for by someone else. Only man in Europe who knows what all the knobs, dials and displays on the dashboard mean.
Social life: Active. "My work is my life," he tells everyone at parties. A keen and active networker. Would love to meet Patrick Swayze.
Holidays: Yes, please. Must try very hard not to refer to his favourite region of Italy as "Tuscers".
Food: All the usual places. Likes every meal to arrive on a huge white plate in very small piles. Has long since forgotten that rice doesn't naturally come in those patties the size and shape of a creme caramel. Creme caramel: Doesn't eat it. Too fattening.
Drink: The occasional glass of white wine. Mustn't lose control.
Mobile phone: Always on. Small lymphona growing on back of neck.
Prospects: Excellent. Knows everyone worth knowing in the party and their approval ratings. Ability to talk without saying anything already noted by party chiefs.
Loves: Pie charts. Focus groups. Hardcore pornography hidden under floorboards.
Hates: Ted Grinder.
MR UNACCEPTABLE Ted Grinder
Ted was born in 1936 and endured a childhood of what he has frequently described as "extreme poverty", eating only dirt and flies. At the age of 14 he started work in heavy industry, and rose precipitately through the ranks of his union by dint of a very loud voice.
Passionate, committed, passionately committed and committedly passionate, Ted won the Labour stronghold of Clag- thorpe in the 1964 election, promising Free Coal For All. Previous incumbent Albert Pitshaft had held the seat for 62 years. Ted attracted the whips' attention with some timely and effective shouting, but a promising ministerial career was cut short by his almost complete incompetence. Since returning to the back benches in the mid- 1970s (when he proposed the nationalisation of the racehorse Red Rum), Ted has remained steadfastly true to his socialist ideals, which primarily involve eating a lot of cabbage. Divorced, he lives alone in London and spends weekends nodding at pensioners in his constituency.
Hair: Defiantly messy. Unbrushed since Suez.
Shoes: Functional. What does footwear matter when there is so much injustice in the world?
Accent: Broad Clagthorpe. Ted uses vowels previously thought by linguists to have been lost for ever.
Fitness: The accumulated grease of a million chip butties flows through Ted's veins. Fortunately his heart believes in socialist revolution, too, and keeps on pumping.
Home: Drab, dismal. Not there very often. Box files and letters from constituents piled up all over the place. Photograph on wall of Ted shaking hands with Fidel Castro.
Car: None. Believes strongly in adverse effect of fossil fuels on the environment. Anyway, the wife took it in the divorce settlement. Likes to be noticed (and photographed) on buses.
Social life: None. No time. "My work is my life," he says.
Holidays: A fortnight in Bridlington - or so he would like everyone to believe. More likely to spend holidays at home on the sofa with a bottle of vodka.
Food: Eats to remain alive. Spotted dick. Toad in the hole. Occasional curry. Believes rocket to be a long pointy thing that takes off from Cape Canaveral.
Drink: Tea (vast quantities). Beer (with constituents). Red wine (with party officials). Crates of vodka (when alone).
Prospects: Poor. Millbank eyeing him up for deselection. Simon Greenslade making inquiries about buying a house in Clagthorpe.
Loves: The Party (as was). Punitive tax rates. Fact-finding freebies to Libya.
Hates: Nothing and no one more than Simon Greenslade.