The Third Leader: Bring me sunshine

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The Independent Online

Chairman of the Sunshine Party (formerly the Conservatives) is a tough job. But someone's got to do it, and currently that's Francis Maude. Policies aren't the problem, because, as you know, at present the party's policy is not to have any. No, it's events again.

Long delays for security passes, for example. So much so that Zac Goldsmith couldn't get in to chair a fringe meeting on the quality of life. Mr Maude has faced angry scenes about it - William Hague was cross - as well as "a lively discussion" of the party's famous candidate "A List". Bring me fun, bring me sunshine, bring me love. And Lord Tebbitt. And George Osborne.

Mr Maude may also regret talking about Gordon Brown's luck running out, as shortly afterwards - and shortly before David Cameron's crime debate photo opportunity outside Bournemouth police station - it was disclosed that Tory donors had been assisting inquiries into the "cash-for-honours" allegations. The chairman himself, meanwhile, was reported to have business links with Jill Kelly, the American star and auteur of, among much else, Unbridled Lust and Hooter Heaven. A spokesman stressed that his involvement was entirely upright.

Which reminds me, for some reason, that the Prime Minister will be appearing on Blue Peter today. No interaction with sticky-back plastic, or even an elephant, I'm afraid. But there is a competition for young viewers to send in ideas for a film with Blue Peter about their life in Britain today; the three winners will meet Mr Blair. It's just a tip, boys and girls, but I would go for an upbeat message, more Curtis than Loach, if I were you.