Politics: Pass the plate, Paddy...don't worry about the policies

Sketch

"Paddy! Hi! Come in! Good to see you. You know Gordon, Peter, Jack and - of course - Big John. And your team is ..? Alan I know, Ming I know, Lord Holme I know, Lembit ... er ... I'm sorry. Lembit Opik! Of course. Is Opik an Irish name, Lembit? Estonian, silly me. Impressive nation, the Estonians. I had the Estonian PM over here a month ago, talking about bauxite, I think. And there's an Estonian in Euan's class at the Oratory. What's that, Gordon? It's a Fino-Ugrian language, apparently, according to Gordon, and loosely related to Magyar. You always learn something with the Chancellor in the room.

"And how are Jane? And the children? And, of course, the little grandson? I found those photographs during the election of you and the baby in France genuinely moving. Y'know, Paddy, I often think about being a granddad, strolling over the hills, that little hand clamped in mine. Eventually, but not yet, eh! Anyway, sit down, sit down! Paddy, sit there on the opposite side of the table. When the photographers have taken their snaps you can move to this chair next to me, if you'd like.

"Now, who wants some tea? Or coffee? Jack, that's four teas, and four coffees. I'll just stick to the carrot juice, thanks. Some cake, Paddy? I'm told by my office that this is your favourite - lemon drizzle cake as made by Mrs Tarantino of Eastbourne. Take two, take two. Surely you've got room for more - an ex-Marine like you!

"Look, I really am grateful to you for giving up your time like this. I know how busy you are. But I'm hoping that this can be a regular consultation, with your views and contributions feeding directly into the Government's deliberations and - I'm not afraid to say it - sometimes even affecting the policy of the Government itself. Tradition demands that we attend different conferences, stand different candidates, and emphasise different policies, but the voters know that we have a great deal in common. They know that we can work together, whether it be John here, you, Paddy, or even old Kenneth Clarke, in equal partnership.

I have to say - you know - how immensely impressed I was with all your work up in Scotland. Donald says that if it weren't for you, the Yes vote could easily have slipped below the 70 per cent mark. Wales is a big of a cliffhanger, though, isn't it? Next item is the reform of the House of Lords. Paddy, your plate's empty, and I did get the cake especially for you. Look, the good news is that we're going to do it as soon as we possibly can, certainly in the next year or two.

"Now I know you're concerned with progress on Freedom of Information. [interrupted by aide]. Gosh, is that the time? I've got the Guatamalan President for lunch over at the Palace and I really shouldn't keep Her Majesty waiting. She's had a very hard time of it. Paddy, Alan, Richard, Ming, Limpet, good and useful to see you all. We must do it again. Soon."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there