So now what do we hear? The man who instructed Brother Darling to shave off (or wash off) his beardy-thing, Charlie Whelan, press adviser to shadow chancellor Gordon Brown, is himself spending the Christmas holidays re-growing the beard he once sported as a student politician. He is hiding in the Cairngorms until he has a full set. Maybe he'll put the golden ear-ring back in, too. Perhaps this is a new trend. Geoff Hoon, the up- and-coming Labour frontbencher shaved off his moustache, but grew it again because his children could not recognise him.
Peter Mandelson has taken off his for good. "Whose good?" you may ask. As Creevey has noticed, ambitious Stephen Byers MP, Labour's hammer of the unions, has wielded the razor to similar effect.
These matters aside, what links Tony Benn, Tam Dalyell and Peter Mandelson? Certainly not socialism. It's not particularly cold, but they all wear woolly jumpers in the Commons chamber. Reports say they are joined by Michael Heseltine, a devotee of the 1960s-style V-neck. Why not? If you have a brass neck, keep it warm.
Who says the art of invective is dead? "Gorgeous George" Galloway MP, asked his Scottish whip, Gordon McMaster, why everyone at Westminster took such an instant dislike to him. "Because it saves time," shot back the big man.
A New guide to the House of Lords gives us all sorts of useless information, such as what languages peers can speak. Hundreds claim to be Francophone, and dozens to be fluent in German, but only the Archbishop of York admits to speaking Romanian, and only Lord Henniker has a command of Danish. That's cheating because he was Our Man in Copenhagen in the 1960s. The Earl of Cranbrook claims to speak Malaysian, but since he writes books about mammals in that part of the world he should know that's a nationality not a language. If there's any doubt, he could ask Lord Shepherd, who speaks Malay.
What's yellow on the outside, red on the inside, and stands on the Terrace in all weathers? Rosa Madam Speaker, of course. In the language of the gardening experts, a bi-colour hybrid tea rose named for Betty Boothroyd and unveiled in the presence of Sir Harold Walker, chairman of the parliamentary gardening club, whom she bested in the battle for the speakership. But why red and yellow, when Betty, a genuine Yorkshire lass, has the county's white rose on her coat of arms?
Old stereotypes die hard. Lady Olga Maitland (Sutton and Cheam, Noblesse Oblige Party) got stuck in a lift in Norman Shaw, the Whitehall building where MPs have their offices, with John Hutton, the member for Barrow- in-Furness. "You're one of those Labour chappies," she bleated. "Fix it!" Hutton, graduate of Magdalen College, Oxford, and a law lecturer, pointed out that not all Labour members used to wear dungarees and carry an adjustable spanner in their back pocket before they became legislators.
A Spirited dash for the Malvolio Award for the Most Self-Important MP in the closing hours of the parliamentary session was made by Harry Greenway (Ealing North, Not Very Shy Party) withthe most odiously flattering question to the Prime Minister. But, on reflection, that's a Creep of the Week entry. Ergo, this week's crossed garters go to Angela Knight, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, who has given us the pounds 2 coin, for an insufferably pompous appearance on Radio 4's Today programme. Perhaps it should be renamed the Toady programme.
Always look for information where they would least expect you to find it, is Creevey's motto. The chauffeur usually knows more than the man he is driving. On that basis, the painters and decorators at Westminster have decided that the Tories have lost the election. What other explanation can there be for the frantic face-lift now under way in that den of iniquity, the opposition whips' office? Paintbrushes have not been seen there in living memory - not, at any rate for painting with. They are part of the whips' black arts, one presumes. No, no. Surely, the Conservative hard- boys know they have lost the general election already, and if they must go into less salubrious quarters, they can at least get the place redecorated. What next? State of the art flogging machines? Electronic organisers to file away MPs' peccadilloes?
Just goes to show you can't trust all Tory sources. Norman Lamont is most upset about Creevey's suggestion last week that he prefers the old market town of Knaresborough to "snooty" Harrogate in his new constituency. He takes the diarist to the Commons Sports and Social Club (of which more another day) to say: "They are both very attractive, but different. I like them equally." Very wise, Norman, very wise.
And now a seasonal story to touch your hearts. Edward "the Equalizer" Woodward, star of Common as Muck, an everyday TV saga of refuse collection, discovered while filming a new series that he used to babysit his co-star Roy Hudd in sarf London. He was 10 and Roy was four. It was the first time they'd met for almost 60 years. All together now: aaaaaah.
Between them, they anaesthetised the rest of the cast and the camera crew with nostalgic tales of pre-war Croydon, a place that most people only know as an inconvenient stop on the line to Brighton. Apart from being the birthplace of Malcolm Muggeridge and a suburb where DH Lawrence was deeply unhappy while schoolteaching, it is a blot on the landscape. "I'll have you know that in our day Croydon was really rather posh. It had an international airport," enthused Woodward, deaf to the cries of "enough".Reuse content