I’m afraid Dan Hannan will have to do without my
vote in next year’s Euro-elections. I can’t and won’t vote for a list that has
Marta Andreasen on it. She’s not a Conservative, never has been and never will
be. I’m not even sure that she is eligible to stand. Has she really got a proper UK
residence? I shall be looking at her nomination paper very closely. Having said
that, she’s not alone in being a Conservative MEP without being a conservative,
is she? The whole selection system for MEPs is so corrupt as to be totally
appropriate for a banana republic. If the selection systems for selecting local
government candidates have been reformed to make them more democratic, why has
the Conservative Party insisted on sticking with this outrageous system which
guarantees the incumbents have a job for life if they want it? He may be a nice
guy, but didn’t Tim Kirkhope outlive his natural usefulness quite a few years
ago? And yet he tops the Yorkshire list. In case you think I am going over to
the dark side in these elections, I’m not – well, not unless I get a sniff that
David Cameron doesn’t really mean it on his referendum promise. I will instead
cast my vote in East Anglia and vote for the very hard-working and delightful
Vicky Ford, even though I could sorely be tempted to vote for my friend Patrick
O’Flynn who heads the UKIP list in the region. If I ever had any temptation to
do that, I just have to look at the names below him to know that way lies madness.
One story I forgot to mention last week from my
phone-in with Eric Pickles is that I can now explain his desperate desire to
cultivate the petrolhead vote. It is he, after all, who is behind the moves to
allow us all to park on double yellow lines. And all power to his considerable
elbow. I can now reveal that Mr P has a secret desire to appear on TOP GEAR and
be the star in a reasonably priced car. Surely an invitation from Jeremy
Clarkson and his lads can only be a matter of weeks away?
Being egged is almost a rite of passage for most
politicians. But it was particularly bad luck for it to happen to Ed Miliband
on his first day back following his three week Scarlet Pimpernelish
disappearing act. You could call it an Omniscrambles. My egging initiation came
nearly 20 years ago when I was chairing a speaker meeting at the then very left-wing University of East Anglia (or University of Easy Access, as it was known).
I was chairman of the Federation of Conservative Students at UEA at the time,
and no, I never wore (nor even knew one existed) a Hang Nelson Mandela
T-Shirt). Cecil Parkinson was the guest speaker. It was only a year after the
Sara Keays affair and his resignation from the cabinet. His wife Ann and local
Tory MP John Powley were on the platform with me, facing an audience of 900
students. The lecture theatre was packed to overflowing. Anyway, Cecil started
giving a rather dull but worthy speech on trade. After about ten minutes, I could
tell out of the corner of my eye trouble was brewing. Out of the corner of my
eye I could see a couple of well-known Trots making signals to each other, then
the eggs starting raining in. Splat. One hit my me. Damn. My only suit was
ruined. Then another. Then a couple hit Ann. All in all a dozen or so eggs were
thrown before our security contingent (commonly known as the Rugby Club First
Eleven) intervened. All I remember hearing was Cecil shouting “Which of you
dirty, lefty rats threw that at my wife?” Calmness was eventually restored and it
was only when Cecil resumed his speech that I realised he had escaped
scot-free. Not a single egg had hit him. He was as Teflon as his hair. Lefties
never were very good at hitting targets.
The whole row over who was to blame for the fact
that the Tories and LibDems trousered £520,000 of a widow’s request to the
nation was nothing if not unseemly. It fed the conspiracy theory-like brains of
those who want to believe that all politicians are on the take. But I reckon it
was more cock-up than conspiracy. Michael Crick suggested that it all happened
because her solicitors didn’t appear to know that the Treasury Solicitors are
not in fact the Treasury’s solicitors. And on such lack of knowledge is a Daily
Mail front page based. Good August story, though.
OK, 500 words written, 500 to go. Tell you what,
writing a political diary column in August is bloody difficult. Consider
yourselves privileged that I don’t do a Kevin Maguire and just bugger off for
the whole of August.
Having learned more than I ever needed to about
Andrew Pierce’s follically-challenged head, in Saturday’s Daily Mail he regaled
us with tales of how he injects botox into his armpits to stop him sweating so
profusely. Can you imagine if any politician had written about such things?
Piercey would have spent his entire column ridiculing them. Did I ever tell you
about the time I felt my buttocks needed to be a bit perkier? No? Well….
I would like to apologise for the lack of
innuendo and double-entendres in last week’s column, which was remarked upon by
a valued reader called ExToryAgent. You want a double-entrendre? OK, I’ll give
you one. The old ones are the best, eh?
I would also like to apologise to those of you
who feel unable to leave a comment when I don’t mention gay marriage in a
column. There. Happy now?
This is the time of year when I start turning my
head to preparing to compile the Daily Telegraph’s Top 100 People on the Right
list, which is published during the party conference each year. This will be
its sixth year and inclusion in it has become highly prized, particularly by
greasy young men on the up. They will shamelessly say to me: “I think I should
be included in your list”. Er, OK. Thanks for the advice, but I think I and my
panel will be the judge of that! I keep trying to think of a cutting response
to such pleas, but I usually just respond with an enigmatic “Do you? I’ll bear
that in mind.” Drawing up these lists is an easy way to make new friends and
lose existing ones. There’s one MP, who had better remain nameless, who is
always a candidate for relegation but I always save at the last minute. Frankly
I just couldn’t bear the shrieks of anguish if he were allowed to drop out
completely. This year, though, even I doubt I’ll be able to save him.