I’ve spent this week in Norfolk on holiday. I’ve done very little apart from read, play with my dogs and watch 27 episodes of a brilliant US TV series called Covert Affairs. I’ve barely spoken to anyone apart from my partner and even turning on Sky News has been something I’ve rarely done. I think it’s called living a normal life outside the Westminster bubble. There is a lot to be said for it.


There was a time when plenty of people like me would have thought about voting UKIP at the European elections, if only to ‘send a message’. But in his desperate attempt to attract the so-called ‘white working class vote’, Nigel Farage is putting many moderate Conservatives off voting for his party due to his increasingly shrill message on immigration. No, it’s not racist to talk about immigration, but the kind of messages conveyed on UKIP’s latest set of European election posters are ones which are aimed at people who might very well harbour some racist beliefs, even if it’s deep in their subconscious. Tim Montgomerie, in a tweet, called the posters ‘strong’. I have another word for them. Disgusting.


I see Guido Fawkes has been tipping Michael Gove to take over from Grant Shapps as Chairman of the Party. Indeed, he reckons it’s worth a trip to the bookies. Save your money. Shapps is going nowhere. He will be party chairman right up until polling day next May. Cameron thinks highly of him and likes the way he’s willing to take one for the team.  In fact, he’s taken several for the team of late, and seems not to mind doing it. What a pity some of his other colleagues aren’t such team players.


Last week, I wrote about an unpublished diary entry by John Biffen in which he mentioned Cyril Smith’s sexual proclivities. I have now tracked it down. It’s from 17 April 1979, and it reads: “’I liked the Rossendale candidate, David Trippier – he seemed mature. He told me Cyril Smith would win in Rochdale; he mentioned impending charges involving children.” Why is this at all important? Because senior Liberal politicians from the time continue to deny any knowledge of what their colleague had got up to. But if a Tory Shadow Cabinet minister and a lowly Tory candidate knew about it, is it really believable that no one in the Liberal Party did?


I watched Philomena last night. A great film and a terrific performance by Dame Judi Dench. What a pity, though, that Steve Coogan decided to play himself rather than Martin Sixsmith, who he was supposed to be portraying. I don’t know Sixsmith well and have only met him a couple of times. But to me he seemed nothing like the rude, boorish, condescending oaf played by Coogan.


I was most amused to see a Church of England vicar ranting on Sky News about how disgusting it was that David Cameron had described Britain as a Christian country. Doesn’t that just about sum up the problems the Church of England has? It used to be known as the Tory Party at prayer. Increasingly it is becoming not only an irrelevance, but a left wing, secular sect. If such a thing is even possible.


Pamela Parker is a name man of you won’t know. She died earlier this month at far too young an age. If there were any justice in our ridiculous system of political patronage, Pamela would have been a member of the House of Lords years ago. But Pamela wasn’t a diplomat. She believed that in order to make an omelette you had to crack a few eggs. She was direct. She didn’t suffer fools gladly. Pamela Parker did more to advance the cause of women in the Conservative Party than most. She was a leading light in the Conservative Women’s Organisation for many years, as well as being a successful businesswoman. A light went out in the Tory firmament the day Pamela died. She had my utmost respect.

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