HAVE you seen this man? He is the leader that the Conservatives are looking for, if they but knew it.

They have a problem, those poor Tory backbenchers, as they agonise over their choice this weekend. Major is dull. Redwood is from Mars. Heseltine is past it. Portillo is over the top. They all have their strengths, but none of them is quite right.

Our man is. Confected by computer from the most impressive features of all the Tory Titans, he represents the dream ticket.

These are his component parts:

Heseltine's Hair - the most distinctive and exciting coiffure in modern political history. Expensive to maintain, perhaps, but worth it for sheer panache.

Redwood's Brow - the most expressive and articulate feature of a man whose features are all, in their way, distinctive. And behind it lies the brain of a Fellow of All Souls.

Thatcher's Eyes - unique, powerful, frightening, yet capable on occasion of delivering up the odd tear. And they see precisely what they want to see.

Major's Nose - the one by which the Tories were ahead at the last election. It could still save them. And, of course, it will infect the leader's voice with classless tones.

Shephard's Ears - using these alone, the Education Secretary is able to convey an enviable image of intelligence and thoughtfulness. After consideration, her ear-rings have been removed.

Clarke's Mouth - plausible, straightforward and businesslike, the words that emerge from it are perfectly shaped for the Today programme.

Portillo's Chin - he leads with it, as must our perfect leader. And on its rock-solid surface, any bad news can comfortably be taken.

Lamont's Neck - best brass. Say no more.

There you are, the perfect Conservative leader, with all the attributes needed to take party and country into the new millennium. He may look a little odd, but the computer doesn't lie. Disconcertingly, he bears more than a passing resemblance to John Patten.

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