Diary: In Nadine Dorries, Britain has found its answer to Sarah Palin
Monday 09 May 2011
If ever Mid-Bedfordshire Conservatives consider deselecting Nadine Dorries, my advice is this: watch yourselves, blue rinses. The diarist's life is hard enough without losing the geyser of homespun common sense that keeps on gushing. Responses to the publicityphobe's masterstroke about teaching abstinence to 13-year-olds, but only girls, have been mixed – ranging from opponents' "She's raving bonkers" to "Well, yes, a bit doolally, bless her, but she means well," from fervent supporters. Yet easy as it is to dismiss the MP who defended expenses charges by initially claiming that 70 per cent of her blog is fiction, she is entirely consistent in advocating bespoke treatment for her gender. She passionately opposes women-only shortlists, for example, despite reportedly benefiting from Central Office pressure to pick a woman herself. A Mid-Beds MP she became and amid beds not entirely of the marital persuasion she has since been. Nadine insists that abstinence ruled her relationship with her new gentleman caller until he left his wife. Whether this is 70 per cent fiction – whether she went most of the way (upstairs outsidies, non-penetrative intimacy down below, etc) but stopped short – only she can tell us. And one day, when doing pre-show publicity for I'm A Celebrity, no doubt she will. But let no one try to get her out of here yet. We diarists need the Sarah Palin wannabe – and isn't Bristol's mom the go-to girl for teaching young women to say no? – almost as much as she needs us.
On that part-fictional blog, meanwhile, Nadine hits back at Camilla Long, who interviewed her amusingly in the Sunday Times and whom she calls "witch-like". With her Tea Party sympathies, you'd have thought Nadine would be gung-ho for any Christine O'Donnell manquee, but there it is. "If I'm trending on Twitter," she told Ms Long of the lively reaction to her private members' bill, "I've got it right." A brilliantly incisive analysis, as Osama bin Laden, who trended huge late last Sunday, would agree.
* I hope Chris Huhne's hopes of being reshuffled to Transport will survive these allegations that he tried to persuade others to take a speeding offence rap for him. If Liberal Democracy is in essence about anything, it is about sharing. Besides, George Young became both the Bicycling Baronet and Transport Secretary after being nicked for ploughing through a central reservation in drink. If any Cabinet member tries to use these allegations (which the ultra-loyalist Chris denies) to damage him, the Leader of the House will threaten to resign in his defence, on the grounds that that we can't have motoring crime apartheid segregating Tories from their Lib Dem bitches. This is a coalition of equals, or it is no coalition at all.
* David Cameron's metamorphosis into game show warm-up man gathered pace when he built on "Calm down, dear" with that snatch of Benny Hill. Yet according to the new Catchphrase Tsar, wittily sampling Ronald Reagan, we ain't seen nothing yet. The PM is already working on the next Queen's Speech, postponed until 2012 to give him time to polish his material. While details remain sketchy, one undenied rumour suggests she will begin with: "Knowing us, Her Majesty the Queen, knowing you, both Houses of Parliament ... Aha!"
* As for Westminster's Mrs Mopp (it's being so cheerful as keeps him going), this column's "intrusion into private grief" rule prevents any lingering on Nick's performance. We simply doff the cap to him for showing his face at all. His role model as pioneer of the "lose on every front" scorched-earth policy would never had the class. Arsene Wenger would have stayed sulking in the dressing room.
* But could there be a rival Dorothy Parker on the Algonquin front benches? James Corden thinks so. Appearing on Gagger Marr's show yesterday, along with Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and George Osborne, Corden praised the latter as hilarious. "He has funny bones," he said, still recovering from all the green-room rib-busters. Can this be true? Is George the funniest Chancellor since Geoffrey Howe or Sir Chuckles Cripps? Evidence, please.
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