The Agreeable World of Wallace Arnold: Nipple rings have a role in the modern Tory party

Share
Related Topics
I am widely recognised as something of a snappy dresser. "To afternoon tea with the ever-delicious HM Queen Mother at Clarence House" writes my old friend and quiffing partner Sir Roy Strong in his irrepressible new Diaries, "where the talk centres firmly on the delightful, almost Edwardian cut of darling Wallace Arnold's new flat cap. Bliss!"

Like Roy, I have long considered clothes to be the outward sign of the inner man, and that is why I eschew the "T-shirt", the "trainer" (dread word!) and the baseball cap, preferring the well-cut suit, the waistcoat and the highly-polished brogue. And let me add that I am most definitely agin' the ghastly fashion for "nipple-piercing": I have never and WILL never have my "nipple" pierced, even if I knew where it was. Sadly, this is not true of everyone: I trust I am not giving away too many secrets when I reveal that my old friend and future leader Mr John Redwood has recently had his left nipple pierced, in a bid to show that he is "in tune" with the young. Fortunately, he is delighted by the result. "It

affords one a useful new place to hook one's pen when one is in the bath or under the shower" he explains.

Needless to say, the young tearaway contender for the Tory leadership, Master Hague, has been stung into action by Redwood's bold move. I hear that, come tomorrow, he is planning an official unveiling in the Commonwealth Institute of his own new multiple-piercings, including rings through his nose, tongue, ears, buttocks and nipples. "If the Conservative Party is to put the past behind it, we must seek to embrace the hopes and aspirations of the young" he will declare. "With rings placed in seven separate areas of my body, I am now in a position to present myself as uniquely qualified for the task."

In characteristically slapdash mode, Mr Kenneth Clarke is, I hear tell, bent on performing his own nipple-piercing in DIY fashion, with a screwdriver, a hammer and the used ring-top from a can of Diet Coke. Frankly, I dread to imagine the results - would it not have been more judicious for him to have secured the services of a Saatchi, a Bell or a Mandelson for the task?

But I deviate. My task is not to elucidate the pros and cons of nipplepiercing among the Tory leadership contenders. Rather it is to condemn the recent actions of our joint enemy, the current Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr Gordon Brown. Mr Brown, chip firmly upon shoulder, has let it be known that he is refusing to attend the Lord Mayor's Mansion House dinner in the conventional costume of white tie and tails. Instead, he feels it befits his great office to dip into his bottom drawer for a crumpled two-piece lounge suit, no doubt supplemented with smelly socks, and to throw them all on any old how before hot-footing it to the Mansion House on a number 22 bus. To paraphrase the words of Mr Fred Astaire, "I'm putting on my messy striped tie, brushing down my baseball cap and doffing two fingers at an ancient tradition that has served its country well, embuing us all with a deep pride and respect for the pageantry of which Great Britain is still the supreme master".

And Brown has not stopped there. For the past two centuries, the Lord Mayor has attended the Mansion House clad not only in white tie and tails but, beneath them, also in corset, suspenders, trainer-bra and stockings. Though there is nothing formally dictated in the rules governing the event, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has always seen fit to follow suit. But Brown has shown no inclination to conform, preferring to place himself above those who preceded him, wearing his customary superior frown.

Small wonder the Chancellor remains a bachelor. In my experience, the lovely ladies in our lives like to be seen out with a fellow who takes trouble with his appearance. HM The Queen Mother, for instance, is forever congratulating me on my appearance. "Wallace" she told me only last week, after a mid-morning pint of mild and bitter, "I have never known anyone carry off a bow tie quite as well as you ..." She then looked a little whimsical, even a little downcast, before looking straight ahead and, tears in her eyes, adding, "In another life - who knows? - the two of us might have made a go of it. Still, it was not to be..."

Frankly, I doubt Mr Gordon Brown will ever receive such a compliment - and certainly not if he persists in dressing like a member of that most dishevelled and unpalatable of all pop groups, namely "Oasis". We British prefer those who rule us to cut a dash at a formal dinner: when they start slinking into the Mansion House in lounge suit and Hush Puppies, then that is the time to start counting the spoons.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If I were Prime Minister: Every privatised corner of the NHS would be taken back into public ownership

Philip Pullman
 

Errors & Omissions: Magna Carta, sexing bishops and ministerial aides

John Rentoul
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links