You’ve got to love a bit of Tory infighting. But who’s going to land the decisive punch? George Osborne or Boris Johnson?

A Tory defeat would fatally damage the London mayor’s golden image and clear Osborne’s path to the leadership


As if the troubles in Crimea were not doing enough to evoke the Cold War aura, the troika battling for control of the Conservative party goes that extra mile to do the Beatles’ bidding and take us back to the USSR. Let me hear your balalaikas ringing out, because the rumbling tensions within the ruling Bullingdon faction of the Tory Supreme Soviet have apparently exploded into a most uncivil war.

A livid Boris Johnson accuses George Osborne of being a “liar” in the story allegedly planted on the front page of Saturday’s Times. It claimed the Chancellor, acting as David Cameron’s emissary, has asked Boris to return to the Commons before next May’s election and immerse himself in the workers’ struggle for a majority.

While some leading neo-Kremlinogists dismiss this as simply bluff-calling, others interpret it as a cunning ruse to bind Boris to the campaign, on the logic that a Tory defeat would fatally damage the London mayor’s golden image and clear Osborne’s path to the leadership. Boris offers a less verbose analysis. “Bullshit” is his pithy response to the report, according to The Mail on Sunday, while he denies that Osborne has ever said a dickie bird to him on the matter.

In the midst of this renewal of infighting from the days when Osborne – known then as Oik, because he had attended St Paul’s rather than Eton – and his confrères pelted each other with bread rolls preparatory to wrecking an Oxford restaurant, it is impossible to foresee how the internecine skirmishing will pan out. However, I refer the Chancellor to this warning from history. The last time a bunch of power-hungry wannabe rulers underestimated an erstwhile capital city mayor called Boris as a shambolic buffoon who posed no serious threat, it did not go spiffingly for them. The lesson from the abortive Russian coup d’etat of 1991 could not be clearer. Take a look at archive footage of the triumphant Yeltsin atop his tank, Oik, and be afeared.

A whole new side – or rather, front – to Grant Shapps

With Boris being touted as a pre-election Tory chairman, it was generous of the incumbent, Grant Shapps, to praise him effusively on Andrew Marr’s show. Apart from casting such an amusing vote for Christmas, this cabinet uber-turkey probably had much else of interest to say, though I was too captivated by a facial feature to take it in. It is probably the Rebecca Adlington debate, but I found myself transfixed by the exquisiteness of Grant’s nose. He may be a bumptious dodgepot of the first water, but if he has to be shunted aside for Boris, he has a fine career ahead advertising nasal decongestants on the telly.

More impeccable logic from Louise Mensch

If Palin is inspired to take on Hillary Clinton in 2016, it will thrill more than Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and fans of hilarious catchweight contests. Louise Mensch  will be overjoyed by a renaissance for the role model who, in quitting as Alaska’s Governor for a fat Fox News contract, blazed a trail that Mensch followed by bolting from the Commons for a berth within the Murdoch empire.

Opining on British affairs with her usual insight from New York, Louise responds in the Sun on Sunday to Janet Street-Porter, who had umbraged her with some trenchant thoughts on female MPs retiring early from the Commons fray. “More women MPs are stepping down now,” thunders a thinker once cruelly styled as a bargain-basement Palin, “simply because there are more women MPs elected.” How very true. And if more women MPs had the wit to suck up to Rupert and James Murdoch at media select committee hearings, later picking up lucrative media work, even more would run out on their constituents and flee to the States. I hope that’s cleared up this vexing matter.

Gloria, Page 3, and some very mixed messages

Where Louise used politics as a spingboard to The Sun, Labour’s Gloria de Piero has kind of made the journey in reverse.  She was inspired by the likes of Samantha Fox and Linda Lusardi, she reveals, to  launch herself on the path out of a  miserably poor Bradford childhood  that has taken her, via a little topless modelling and a spell on breakfast telly,  to the post of shadow minister for women. Somewhere in all this are mixed  messages about Page 3’s rightful place in neo-feminist history. When things  calm down on the Paedophile  Information Exchange front, perhaps Harriet Harman would explain it  all for the hard of comprehending.

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