Get Hague to buy condoms! The kids will love it!

The Agreeable World of Wallace Arnold
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The Independent Online
I HAVE a lot of time for the young. With their idealism, energy and tremendous sense of rhythm, they keep us all on our toes. They are blessed with a great sense of humour, a real desire to do good, and an enviable ability to see the world through fresh eyes. And that is the reason I threw my weight behind young William Hague when he set his cap at the Tory leadership.

Over the past months, William has been determined to prove just how very young he is. One day, he has been supping jet-black Jamaican coconut patties through a straw at the Notting Hill carnival and the next he has been wearing a baseball cap clearly emblazoned with his name, just in case he gets lost. And our campaign to emphasise his youth does not end there: he is soon to feature in the popular youth programme, Teletubbies, as the lovable "Ha-ha" ("Eyo, Ha-Ha!" "Eyo!") who gets up to all sorts of mischief with a box of crayons! And to show how William empathises with working-class youth, he will shortly be touring the Gorbals area of Glasgow dressed in a grubby T-shirt and brandishing a broken bottle, muttering "Who you starin' at, pal?" to all onlookers. We are also honing his final choice for his Desert Island Discs, to be broadcast early next year. Obviously, we are determined to let him have his own say in this highly personal selection. On the other hand, we are strongly advising him that his choice of six out of the eight discs from the original soundtrack of The Sound of Music might send out the wrong signals to the under-50s.

"I've noticed," said our bright new Chairman, Lord Parkinson, heading our Youth Commission last week, "that the young enjoy vomiting on street corners. Might William be persuaded to enjoy a quick chuck-up for the cameras?"

"Marvellous idea, Cecil!" I said, "And why not lend him your old tracksuit? Drip-dry, if I'm not mistaken!" Cecil hummed and hawed before changing the subject. "Sex!" he said. "We must emphasise the sex angle! William and Ffion are the perfect young couple from next door - but are they getting enough? That's what everyone wants to know. We should issue an immediate press release confirming that they're at it like stoats!"

At this, the Arnoldian "little grey cells" came into their own. "Will the lovely Ffion be attending next month's party conference?" I slurped. "And if so, will she be - er - sharing a duvet with young William?"

Everyone became very excited over the coverage to be gained from this remarkable event. Voila! A discreet tip-off and we secured the headline "Giggling Hague's snub to Maggie" high up on Page 2 of Wednesday's Daily Mail.

"William Hague has left old-guard Conservatives aghast at his decision to share a pounds 200-a-night suite and a double bed with his fiancee, Ffion, during next month's party conference," ran the story. "The 36-year-old, who is determined to give his party a more modern image, dismissed criticism from Lady Thatcher. `I am not worried about things like that,' he told BBC Radio. `People know that we are absolutely committed to each other.'"

Bullseye for the Youth Vote and for Arnold! But now Cecil is mustard- keen to give this story momentum right up to the minute the two lovebirds "hit the sack" (dread words!) in their Blackpool suite. We have thus devised the following Press Schedule for the Big Day:

11.00am: The Party Leader arrives in Blackpool.

11.05am:. The Party Leader and Ms Ffion Jenkins book into the Imperial Hotel under the name "Smith". The couple will be posing for accredited photographers while signing the visitors' book, winking cheekily to camera.

12.45pm: Photocall for Party Leader at Boots, The Parade, Blackpool. Mr Hague and Ms Jenkins will be purchasing a packet of ribbed condoms. Mr Hague will be holding these up to the cameras with a cheery grin.

12.50pm: The Party Leader and his fiancee will be available for photographs sprinting back to the Imperial Hotel and running up the stairs to their suite two-at-a-time.

3.45pm: The Party Leader appears on the rostrum of the Party Conference flushed and out of breath, tucking shirt into trousers, flashing "thumbs up" signs to cameras.

3.46: The Party Leader will start his first speech to conference with a scripted quip. "We're clean out of condoms!" he says to uproarious laughter and applause from delegates. Ms Jenkins enters, hair disshevelled, smoking cigarette. End of Press Schedule.

We're on our way! And this year's conference slogan? Our market researchers are pushing for "The Conservatives: Sex 'n' Drugs 'n' Rock'n'Roll". But might this be going a little too far?

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