John Major - who he?

Click to follow
The Independent Online
JOHN MAJOR is disappearing into history faster than any previous Prime Minister. Not only did his declaration against the single European currency make very small waves last week, but the Chancellor of the Exchequer - Iron Broon - forgot that he existed.

When Big Gordie handed the power to set interest rates to the Bank of England, he telephoned all his predecessors, as a matter of courtesy, to tell them what he was doing. Except one. He left out Mr Major, because he did not recollect that the Grey Man had - albeit briefly - served at the Treasury. More to the point, nobody else at the Treasury remembered either.

David Blunkett did rather better on his 50th birthday last Thursday. Broon had the Education and Employment Secretary round for a wee celebration lunch. As he cut the cake, the Chancellor intoned gravely: "This is the first time under New Labour that a spending minister has been able to have his cake and eat it. And the last."

Only too believable. Tonight, in Luxembourg, Broon will be given the first sighting of the Euro single-currency coins at a dinner for EU finance ministers. On one side of the Brit euro will be the Queen's head; on the other, a symbol of national identity. A lion? A thistle? One thing is for certain: the coins will not have a date.

THEY have changed their name. Blair's bankrollers don't like being called "Labour luvvies" anymore. Greg Dyke, the boss of Channel Five, who has been as generous as anybody to the Great Leader, has invented a new title for this select group of Chateau Latour socialists: The Lollies. At his 50th birthday bash the other day, Dyke greeted his Conservative friends (yes, he has a few): "Didn't we stuff you!"

IT'S NOT every day that Creevey gets escorted to the lavatory. But attending Mo Mowlam's drinkies last mid-week in the grim MI5 building on Millbank (where the Northern Ireland Office is now situated), one had to be escorted to the loo, where a press officer stood sentry-go outside the whole time. Even the graffiti were classified.

NEIL KINNOCK can still tell 'em. At the Greater London Labour Party victory do in the Royal Lancaster Hotel last week, he recalled sitting next to Woy Jenkins at a constituency dinner in Merthyr Tydfil. The waitress came and the gourmet socialist asked if the establishment could provide him with aspawagus tips. She went off with a perplexed expression, only to return to apologise that they could not. "Will Benson & Hedges do?" she asked.

POLITICALLY incorrect corner. Labour MPs rushed to see a maiden speech being delivered the other day by the new Member for Don Valley, Caroline Flint. Not because of its content, Creevey fears, but because of the lady's pulchritude.

Before you get carried away, they didn't actually tear into the chamber. They just rang round and told each other to switch their office television sets to the parliamentary channel. Lazy, as well as non-PC. Creevey has yet to meet Ms Flint, though she was tipped by this column to win the nomination at safe Barnsley East last year. Wrong again. It was seized by the less than pulchritudinous Jeff Ennis. Clearly, lunch is in order.

While we are on the subject of the New Girls, Helen Brinton, the toughie blonde who wrested Peterborough from the Tories, appears to be making a bit of a name for herself. After having her purse stolen on the London Underground, she thought it would be appropriate to have a security summit with Jack Straw. Unfortunately, the Home Secretary's diary appears to be quite full. Ms Brinton consoled herself with a full and frank discourse to friends in the media.

ALAS, Creevey will have to quash firmly the rumour sweeping Westminster that the Commons authorities are considering opening a gay bar. True, there are now three openly gay MPs - Heritage Secretary Chris Smith and two new boys, Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) and Stephen Twigg, who ousted Michael Portillo at Enfield and Southgate. However, a threesome doth not a clientele make. A pity, really. The boys had already chosen a name: Twiggy's. Though some wags preferred the Queen's Head.

Anyway, there is much more important business. It seems that the Commons authorities have underestimated the thirsty new intake of Labour MPs. They have drunk the Strangers' Bar dry of real ale. Some blame the weather. Creevey blames the Government.

THE JOKE going the rounds in government circles after Blair's monstering of his fellow socialists in Malmo is that Lionel Jospin, the new Prime Minister of France, would not have made it over here. "He's ancien gauche," said one minister.