Nice line in red-faced bluster

Share
Related Topics
Tim Collins, the Conservative Central Office media guru who claimed the credit for John Major's victory at the last election, and who is now masterminding the Government's by-election disaster in Wirral South, really must learn to engage brain and mouth simultaneously.

Creevey's spy spotted him a while ago at a public meeting in Levens village hall in the Cumbrian constituency of Westmorland and Lonsdale, the seat he is inheriting from Michael Jopling, the former Tory Chief Whip. He was addressing a small multitude. Eighteen people, in fact. It seems that not even the party hierarchy could be bothered to turn out, though many of them live locally.

Smart-alec Collins said in his opening address that the Conservative message was "opaque". A rather odd admission from a man who had just been introduced as head of media communications at Smith Square, you might think. He blamed the media for not getting "their" - the Tories' - message over. Oh, so that's what we are here for.

During question time, when some voters had the barefaced cheek to ask about Tory heartlessness towards the unemployed and homeless, members of his audience found him "very red-faced and angry".

All is not lost. Immediately after the meeting closed, Collins's agent stood up and said: "At the moment, Tim has to stick to the party line. He has to. What you have just heard was only the party line - but come the election, Tim will be able to tell you what he really thinks!"

Is that so? It may well be possible to postpone this pleasure, at least until the self-esteeming child takes his place on the Opposition benches.

n BILL Deedes, the "Dear Bill" of Private Eye fame who ought really to be more famous for defying the laws of mortality, is finally writing his memoirs. They will make a riveting read, if he really tells us what he knows.

The ex-editor of the Daily Telegraph, immortalised in Evelyn Waugh's Scoop and a former Tory minister, has known everybody who is anything for the past 60 years. And quite a lot who are not, for he is a genuine public bar man. To nobody's very great surprise, he has a gorgeous amanuensis. "Got thish girl," he confides to Creevey's snout. "She's very pretty. She's managed to extract a lot of stuff from me." Can't wait.

ONE despairs of the gay community's grasp of the laws of libel. The diary is in receipt of a letter from the Society for the Promotion of Camp, which has an address in Old Queen Street (naturally), purporting to "out" virtually a dozen closet Tory gays in the Commons. Their "stage" names are Patsy, Linda, Mavis, Clarissa, Fanny, Edna, Wally (that's a woman), Betty, Hattie and Sonia. Quite OutRage!ous. Wild horses will not extract anything further.

n WORST party of the year, they say, the opening of Politico's, a fancy new "political bookstore and coffee house" in Westminster for the chattering classes. It was so full that Creevey's colleague had to go outside to bend his elbow - and then wasn't allowed back in. He wasn't the only one. Tony Banks, leader of the Jesters' Party, couldn't get in either. And he was the compere. What you missed was Ken Baker, Gerald Kaufman and Sir David Steel giving their books a free puff. But isn't Steel's tome, The Time has Come, or Time for Change, or some other prattish Lib-Dem title, now remaindered? David Trimble, the Ulster Unionist leader, was wandering round complaining that the bookstore had only one decent book about Northern Ireland. Perhaps the Hero of Drumcree should write one.

Mephistopheles visited Tony Blair last week, according to the usual informed sources, and offered him the keys to 10 Downing Street in return for his immortal soul.

"OK," said the Labour leader, "it's a deal."

"And the soul of your wife, Cherie," persisted the diabolical ambassador.

"Fine, fine," said Blair.

"And those of your three children?" continued Mephistopheles.

"Yes, yes," said Blair, impatient for power. "Where's the catch?"

n GOODBYE corner this week welcomes Jacques Arnold, the cuff-shooting Tory MP who blusters for Gravesham, Kent. This is a bell-wether constituency, in that whoever wins it usually forms the government.

Creevey firmly expects that Arnold, who has an ingratiating manner towards his political masters, will be going back to the banking industry from whence he came in two months' time. He is not exactly popular on the backbenches. One quite right-wing fellow Conservative MP asked about Arnold said: "Do you mind if I remain silent at this juncture?"

He is so complacent he thinks that NHS hospital trolleys are just as comfortable as beds these days. What are the whingeing poor complaining about? But just to be on the safe side, he declined to spend a night on one.

Educated in Brazil (where the nuts come from), Arnold is tall, smirking and possesses an irritating habit in the Commons of beckoning Labour MPs over for a scrap. He would run a mile if anyone took him up. Scrooge Arnold also berates unemployed young people as "idlers". With staggering vanity he sees himself as "a family man who embraces traditional values but who is capable of going for the jugular if pressed".

In fact, he couldn't knock the skin off a rice pudding. His only claim to fame is that he slept through the Great Storm of 1988 while half his roof blew off. Gravesend, the heart of the constituency, deserves better than this. The town is the resting place of Princess Pocahontas, who died there of a broken heart, and Charles Dickens was a noted inhabitant.

Step forward, then, Chris Pond, director of the Low Pay Unit and Labour's standard-bearer. He is confident of overturning the Tories' 5,493 majority, and the canvassing returns suggest he will wipe off that smirk.

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

E-Commerce Developer

£45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Exciting opp...

Technical Support Analyst (C++, Windows, Linux, Perl, Graduate)

£30000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A global leader in trading platforms and e...

Junior IT Consultant (SQL, Java, C++, Oracle, Graduate)

£28000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A fast growing consultancy to the financia...

Technical Support Analyst (Windows, Linux, Unix, Graduate)

£30000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Technical Support Analyst - Liverpool Stre...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Sami Khedira of Germany runs past Oscar of Brazil with the ball during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Semi Final match between Brazil and Germany  

If they weren't obsessed with instant profits, England could have a team as good as Germany’s

Mark Steel
Will Lord Patten be able to bring the Vatican into the 20th century?  

Say a little prayer for Lord Patten — the Vatican works in mysterious ways

Peter Popham
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil