Clearly getting fusty in my old age, yesterday I felt unable to hide concerns when Ed Miliband flirted with embracing hip-hop as a cornerstone of the next Labour manifesto. While Ed eventually stepped away from the precipice during an interview with youth channel SBTV – (in fairness, he's known to be more of a Bananarama man) – big brother David is busy making his own overtures to the music industry. Miliband (D) is now lobbying for votes on behalf of X Factor contestants Rhythmix, whose members Jade Thirlwall and Perrie Edwards hail from his South Shields constituency. "The girls have done fantastic to get to this stage," says David – (in fairness, known to be more of an Elton John man). "They are carrying the hopes and dreams of everyone." We can only hope this might soothe memories of a certain other ill-fated vote he endured last year.
* Amid what has been a sorry old week for our Prime Minister, concern in some quarters has again turned to the state of his exhaustively manicured barnet. In the aftermath of this week's rebellion by Tory MPs, both the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror were keen to draw attention to the patches of grey appearing towards the back of his bonce. We were encouraged to accept that the PM's stresses with parliamentary colleagues had provided crafty Old Father Time with the opening he'd been looking for – rather than the more far-fetched explanation that he's a 45-year-old bloke who's actually been going a bit grey for a while. Still, no one can say Dave hasn't been warned. If I rightly interpret the Mail's coverage over the past year, we can also safely conclude he's a bloated, balding man in dangerous self-denial, with major health problems on the horizon. I trust he can treasure these next few months before the rot truly sets in.
* Meanwhile, after being accused of using un-parliamentary language courtesy of calling the Labour leader a "mug" in the Commons yesterday, our Prime Minister was at least able to rein in his demons when up against another tricky customer. Observers noted that Dave's earnest brow made a point of going into professional overdrive when that little Scouse firecracker Nadine Dorries (she really loves being called that) started quizzing him about an incinerator in her constituency. The PM, you see, was all-too-aware that his trademark charms are wasted on this troublesome northern lass. Just last month she showed nothing but ingratitude when Dave – to the delight of many on his side of the House – publicly advised Nadine to stop worrying her silly little head about Nick Clegg and the Coalition. Sensibly, he's since concluded she's sadly incapable of sharing his award-winning sense of humour.
* Curiosity got the better of me when one message flashed in the diary inbox yesterday. "Want to have dinner with MP Jacob Rees-Mogg on Friday 28 October? Ring 01749 673146," it tantalisingly stated. Concerned to see a celebrated figure of our times reduced to reaching out in such a seemingly desperate fashion, I called to fulfil the thankless role of being this lonely man's dining companion. Only then was I informed this was in fact officially a "Tory fundraiser" in Wells, and that there was a "fair to middling" chance more than a couple of people might turn up. I fear I'm not the only one who has been misled.
Sorry to report that a small number of readers took exception to President Sarkozy being described as a "little French cockerel" during this column's insightful piece on the diplomatic troubles this week. Revealingly, there has been not a hint of disquiet regarding Ann Widdicombe being subsequently compared to an "annoying old bat".