Then came dear Jeffrey Archer, another touching surprise from one so close to these scuffed old corridors of power. He let it be known that he wished to be considered for Mayor of London - which may sound like a purveyor of gentlemen's shirts but is, in fact, a juicy new job opportunity - and when asked why he felt he was the best man for the job, replied by listing the qualities required of the successful applicant. Mainly the possession of Diplomacy. Assuming Jeffrey was not referring to the ownership of that board game a bit like battleships, this, too, fair had me in tears with its loving artlessness.
But finally, the best score for naivete, went to that well-blooded Tory Ann Widdecombe. Last Monday I was lying in bed, clamped to the tea mug, eyes closed, wondering if the large lump of fur on the carpet was still alive, a frequent morning ponderance where my ancient and wonderfully still cat is concerned (Like Hancock's mother's gravy, she doesn't move around a lot. And neither do I), when out of the mists of the Today programme came the announcement that this was National Sex Week. A terrible shock at that time of the morning.
To discuss this Jolly Idea the programme offered a spokesperson from the Jolly Idea's progenitors, The Family Planning Association, and our Ann. Ann, game for a laugh, was scornful. Who needs to be told to think about sex, for God's sake? What an absurd imposition, people just got on and dealt with it, thank you very much, they needed no help at all. In vain did the mild-mannered spokesperson point out that Sex did not, necessarily, mean Hands On and Doing It, but was about families, relationships, talking things through... Huff and puff, said Miss Widdecombe, what a pointless message to preach. What did this silly spokesperson think? That even Nannies should give their charges lessons in how to fit on a condom? At this point there was complete silence, as indeed there might be. Oh sweet, naive Miss Widdecombe. For I think it probably occurred to most listeners, Anna Ford interviewing, the gobsmacked spokesperson from the FPA, and certainly me, that if Nannies had shown some of their more distinguished charges how to slip on a little bit of rubber successfully, the Tory party itself, if not the country, might be in somewhat better shape.
It was a hot week for Sex and nice to be told we only needed to think about it. Temperatures soared and libidos plummeted as we sloped around with sagging jaws clamped around violently hued ice lollies. We, sweating hoi polloi, could only stand in our puddles of wonder as the tabloids printed those photographs. God Bless the British approach to - er - you know - thingie. Diana is now a woman, gushed the Daily Mail thereby reminding we girls of our debt to Eden, where we first got the news that it is only by the embracement of a Man's wotsit that we can truly call ourselves women. Though how the Daily Mail knows such an act of intimacy took place beats me. Not from those fuzzy photographs, surely? La Wales could, in her caring capacity, just as easily be removing a piece of grit from Dodi's eye and he, being an uninhibited sort of a chap, just hugging her by way of thanks.
If I were Diana my next move would be to do a Lord Longford and fly to Brazil to escort Ronnie Biggs home. In the course of which I would place myself in good clear telephoto range, smile seductively and lick his ear. But no doubt Ann Widdecombe would put this down to rendering immediate, necessary relief for an inner lobe wasp sting. And not smiling but frowning. Sweet.
Wallace Arnold is on holidayReuse content