Dave's Tory party: In with the new, out with the old
David Cameron will spend this week (and the coming years, one suspects) selling a fluffy new caring, sharing, "sunshine Conservatism" to the nation's voters.
Not far from his own doorstep in west London, however, he stands accused of lacking compassion and neglecting traditional Tory voters.
Edenham Care Home in North Kensington, a short cycle (or shorter chauffeured drive) from the Tory leader's house in Notting Hill, appears set to close.
Kensington and Chelsea's Conservative-run council says the home cannot provide the expected standard of care for the elderly. In July the council advocated winding up the centre, warning residents it was "obviously prudent to prepare for the possibility of closure now".
The Friends of Edenham Care Home campaign group wrote to Cameron last month asking him to visit and show support for the pensioners' plight. Cameron's office apparently declined on the grounds that he was too busy.
"It is going to be really unsettling to move, and we hoped we could rely on his support," said one. "His office told us that it was a council matter.
"He found time to fly across the world to India and pose for photographers but can't lend any support to his local retirement home. We know where we stand."
Cameron's staff refused to comment, no doubt busy at the party conference fighting demands from Thatcherite ultras for lower taxation and an end to the vaunted "A-list" of young parliamentary candidates.
The sect, the shindig and the party animals
Our MPs receive small forests of embossed invitations to assorted freebee shindigs. Few, however, turn heads like the one now waiting on their desks as they return to Parliament after the long summer holiday.
There is to be a "Grand Opening" of the Church of Scientology's jazzy new London headquarters on Sunday 22 October, with a VIP reception beforehand at The Mermaid Theatre in Blackfriars.
The rich sect boasts such towering Hollywood luminaries as John Travolta and Tom Cruise - leading to predictable excited speculation in the corridors of power about party guests.
"We would be quite nervous about going," says one parliamentary aide, "but we think a few female MPs will head down on the off chance that Cruise turns up."
RSVPs to the Hubbard Estate in East Grinstead, West Sussex.
Pool death dad not 'Awight'
It was too much for Michael Barrymore, on his book signing tour of the UK, to hope to avoid the father of Stuart Lubbock - the man found dead in his pool five years ago.
Terry Lubbock heckled Barrymore at Waterstone's on London's Oxford Street last night, accusing the entertainer of not disclosing everything he knows about Stuart's death (into which an inquest recorded an open verdict).
"Stuart had injuries to his backside - and the police haven't charged anyone for them," Lubbock said. "I can't move on until I know all the facts."
Barrymore's publicist commented that he had "a right" to release his autobiography. She added: "Terry seems to think Michael is hiding something, but Michael has always said he wants to see the case sorted once and for all."
The squeaky magician Paul Daniels appears to have toppled our Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott from his perch as Hull's leading Lothario.
Yesterday, a red-top newspaper ran pictures of Daniels smooching with a female fan after a performance at the city's university.
Although Daniels denies any funny business, he admits the lucky girl wasn't the only one to feel his magic touch that evening.
"I had dozens-upon-dozens of photographs taken thanks to the trend for mobile-phone cameras," he says. "And YES, SHOCK HORROR, about 50 or 60 of those were with girls, sometimes me kissing them and sometimes them kissing me."
All the Queen's horses
The Queen famously refuses to carry money, so it has long been assumed that Her Maj, despite being a racehorse owner, doesn't bet.
Not so, according to the former England cricket captain Michael Atherton. Buried away in his recent book on gambling is the following: "The Queen of England is known to like a flutter on the nags and on internet companies."
Off with his head!
A treason trial would be wonderfully entertaining (although a bit harsh on Athers). Buckingham Palace seems sadly hesitant, however, to lead him up Tower Hill to the chopping block, or even to reveal whether Liz does queue among the cigar smokers and gin drinkers to bet with the Tote.
"It is a private issue," says a Palace aide, raising her voice to be heard over the clattering tumble of dice.
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