Soundbites, backbites and bluffbites

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The Independent Online
From the moment John Major exited the rose garden on Thursday, the rush was on to get MPs into television and radio studios. It made for some bizarre and strangely unenlightening moments:

6.00pm: The BBC Six O'Clock News has a crew in Malvern, Worcestershire, where the Europhobes are having a bash. On a sunlit lawn the Beeb collars the rebel MPs Tony Marlow and Teddy Taylor. Marlow, a serial regicide, is an uncomfortable partner for Sir Teddy, who is the more cerebral individual - along with 98 per cent of the population. Taylor visibly flinches from Marlow's rant, a pained smile on his lips.

9.00pm: The Nine O'Clock News and Tony and Teddy are still there, linked together. If Breakfast News gets them, will they see dawn come up over that field?

10.30pm: Newsnight has exciting news about another Field, name of Barry, the cheerfully anonymous MP for the Isle of Wight, who may stand as a stalking horse. His friends down the Ventnor Arms seem to be urging him on. Peter Snow delves among the Tory grass roots. One ex-councillor, a dead ringer for John Major, is of the opinion that John Major looks exactly like the kind of man that voters love.

Michael Howard faces the contemptuous Paxman. "Why did you ask me on your programme if you don't like my answers?" he asks. Because every sentient being in the animal kingdom has been asked on to Jeremy's programme tonight, that's why.

7.00am: Friday morning and the conversation isn't improving. Sir Marcus Fox blathers on about Yorkshire bluffness, while repelling every straight question. As the press pack hunts Norman Lamont (seen by breakfast viewers speed-waddling to the newsagents), the next tranche of MPs is hitting the airwaves.

10.00am: Teresa is everywhere, wearing suits of such coruscating brightness, they must surely be washed in new, improved HRT. The jokers are played: Michael Fabricant, wig like the saddle of a Mongolian cowboy, and Jerry Hayes, fresh from the sunbed, camp it up in support of the PM. Lamont has still not spoken.

11.30am: Fortunately, yet more interviews with Mad Marlow are averted by Douglas Hurd's thoughtful resignation.

1pm: One by one the Cabinets recite the loyalty catechism, while the Prime Minister appears under an East Anglian tree, talking to children. They are no problem; it's Tories and animals you should never appear with.

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