Buy now and you're the mug

Share
Related Topics
Labour is already celebrating a win on 1 May. Through the letter box to the party faithful comes a special election issue of New Labour New Britain, offering all manner of general election souvenirs - a bit like buying your rock before setting off for the seaside. Creevey was particularly taken with the red rose silk tie, which also comes in blue for the Alan Howarthites, though in downmarket polyester.

Fancy a red baseball cap emblazoned "Labour Win 97"? Don't they know that anyone daft enough to buy one will only wear it back to front, so hiding the message? A red mug with the same slogan is pounds 3.99. The election manifesto, when it appears, will be a snip at pounds 1.99.

Also on offer are cut-out'n'throw away "pledge cards" (whatever they are) featuring, of course, Tony Blair. Not the smiling one. This is a grim-faced, baggy-eyed Blair with what looks like nappy rash on his top lip. In fact, what you'd expect him to look like after a harrowing term of office. Perhaps it's deliberate, to get us used to the shape of things to come.

Ann Widdecombe, the Prisons Minister, is usually so level-headed that it jars when she dabbles in politically correct-speak. But on Radio 4 she described the prison hulk HMP Weare, lying off Portland harbour, as "a floating detention facility".

Oh yeah? And a plane is a flying passenger facility, no doubt. The rest of her remarks were drowned by the noise of aeronautical porcine quadrupeds flying in tight formation.

To the Irish Embassy to celebrate St Patrick's Day. Waiting in line to be presented to ambassador Ted Harrington, Creevey noticed Jerry Hayes, vivacious MP for Harlow, with an attractive lady on his elbow. The effect was slightly spoiled by Jezza anxiously whispering to her: "What's your surname?" Of course, it was Sami Qureshi, his researcher.

It was like being in the River Squiffy, the Guinness flowed so well. Tim Yeo (Extremely-Well-Behaved-These-Days Party, Suffolk South) was mildly exhilarated by some boundary changes in his constituency. It seems they have removed his chief tormentor, one of those formidable Tory women, into neighbouring Bury St Edmunds. Yeo, the first victim of John Major's back-to-basics policy over a slight case of adultery, breathed a sigh of relief. The lady's new MP is Richard Spring, he of the three-in-a-bed notoriety. OK everybody, back under the covers!

All this, and gongs too. The Dissolution Honours List will be out shortly and Westminster is speculating about who'll get what. Creevey's old pal Sir Harold Walker MP, the diminutive former Deputy Speaker, who has bequeathed his Doncaster seat to John Prescott's former assistant Rosie Winterton (who likes being called "the Barbara Windsor of the Commons") will surely get his peerage. Ermine too for Northern Ireland Secretary Sir Patrick Mayhew, for whom John Major was once PPS. Lord Douglas Hurd looks a good bet. Put a few bob on Trevor Macdonald, the ITN newsreader, who gave the Prime Minister such an easy ride. Sir Trevor would be very popular. Don't put anything on Sir John Carlisle, though. An interesting question is what might become of self-knighting Charles Lewington, the Sunday Express poacher turned gamekeeper who took over as media boss at Tory Central Office. Unkind folk say he will become Lord Lewington of Smarmby-super-Mare. Some say Viscount Tanfastic, a reference to his permo- tan. Outrageous talk.

Lorna Fitzsimmons, the twenty-something Labour candidate at Rochdale, boasts that she owes her life to the NHS because her mum had open-heart surgery two years after it was founded. That would be about 1950. The Lib Dems, desperate to cling on to the seat, are on the blower to point out that open-heart surgery wasn't invented until the 1970s. We'll just let them squabble.

Phillip Oppenheim MP objects to the notion in a previous diary that his employees had once complained that he sold Mars Bars to people at a mark up.

Oppenheim says this never happened and the diary is happy to accept this denial. Not that Oppers is always so easy to understand. While he was telling us this in Westminster's Stranger's Bar the other day, our Phil went on to hint that he had done lots of other things with Mars Bars. But anyway, what's the point of being a Tory if you can't buy cheap and sell dear?

Goodbye corner, the service to readers that tells you about the Tories who are leaving Parliament (involuntarily). This week we bid so long to Sir Graham Bright, the 54-year-old golfing, gardening member for Luton South, who was for several years John Major's Parliamentary Private Secretary, or dogsbody.

Sir Gazza is the curly-haired, bespectacled, red-faced man you saw on the first day of the phoney war, ready to catch the Prime Minister if he fell off his soapbox. You may have missed him because Notso Bright is usually perspiring freely, his face hidden behind a large handkerchief.

Margaret Moran, 41, former leader of Lewisham Council and director of Housing for Women, will take his seat with a swing of just over half a per cent. Byee, Brightee!

And it's goodbye for now from Creevey, too. Your diarist is off on the road with the election campaign. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: This post arises as a result of the need to...

Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teacher Required ASAP In Uminster

£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wimbledon, SW London

£24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

I’m not sure I fancy any meal that’s been cooked up by a computer

John Walsh
Labour leader Ed Miliband delivers a speech on his party's plans for the NHS, in Sale, on Tuesday  

Why is Miliband fixating on the NHS when he’d be better off focussing on the wealth gap?

Andreas Whittam Smith
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore