Dom Joly: Wild times with Charlie and Dave

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The Independent Online

I was shouting in the middle of the street now and a couple of the snappers looked at me in some surprise. Not many of them though, because I suddenly realised that I was not the object of their attention. Coming out of a house a couple of doors down from me, was a thick-haired Sloane who looked a little like Peter Mandelson with the quiff reversed. He was getting on a bike in the midst of a camera flash firestorm. It was "Dave", the new saviour of the Conservatives, the man who is going to persuade 21st-century Britain that his party is not stuck in the late 19th.

I had no idea that "Dave" was my neighbour. I'd seen him cycle past a couple of times, but there is no shortage of Sloanes on bikes round here and he looks more like an estate agent than the future of the free world. Dave finally broke free and got a bit of clear Tarmac between him and the hounds. As he drew level with me, we stared at each other for a second. I nodded and said, "Alright Dave." Then he was gone, off to save the civilised world.

I love Conservative Party leadership elections. I love the fact that they insist on calling themselves "the most sophisticated electorate in the world." Just one look at the chinless misfits that flubber like fat, balding moths around the lights of the cameras on St Stephens Green put pay to that particular lie.

I've had a lot of fun disrupting these events in the past. Aware that there would be a live feed from outside parliament on every news channel waiting for the results, I've made full use of the free publicity. When Michael Portillo chickened out of standing for the leadership I led a band of disgruntled Mexicans, who claimed to be his distant relations who had come over from the homeland to support his bid but were gutted that he had not stood. We danced and protested in the background of several live broadcasts.

ITN then got so worried about us ruining its broadcasts the week after that it decided to build a podium that raised them about 10 feet above the grass. Undeterred, we booked some Mexican acrobats who managed to get into a very effective human pyramid and appear in every shot. Childish, but so satisfying - the story of my life really.

Coming back from Beirut last week, I sat next to Douglas Hurd, another ex leadership candidate who, like "Dave" was hampered by his Etonian, patrician background. He appeared to be returning from some cruise or guided tour in which he had been the "celebrity" guide. He was constantly being pawed and bored by grateful Middle England ladies in large floral marquees.

These same people will be deciding whether my neighbour "Dave" will soon become "King Dave of Notting Hill," or just "Disappointed Dave of North Kensington". I'm pretty sure that he'll do it, as there are enough movers and shakers just in the three streets surrounding us to take over the country if we wanted to. But if he doesn't, there's always I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here, who are currently hiring. I'll get Eddie The Eagle to bring it up with him at our next "evening with Pablo". s

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