Paul Routledge

New Statesman (1996), December 10, 2001 | Go to article overview

Paul Routledge


Labour backbenchers with a clear view of the top of lain Duncan Smith's head during Prime Minister's Questions insist that his dome has a cosmetic cover of matt make-up. "It doesn't shine, unlike William Hague's," one confides. "He is clearly wearing pancake on his pate so it doesn't dazzle viewers of live television coverage." If he is correct, this may explain, in part, the famous IDS frog in the throat. The dust falling from his dome could be irritating his larynx.

Maybe the Tory leader should take lessons in cosmetics from the statutory woman who sits by him when he is at the Despatch Box. Her presence irritates male members of the shadow cabinet, who are peremptorily told to move along the bench by the day's token woman, chosen to give IDS female appeal.

Tony Blair has long been suspected of wearing make-up for his weekly ritual in the House. It must be applied very professionally, because it doesn't shriek like this IDS cover-up. (For the case of IDS and he sweetie, see Jackie Ashley, page 30).

My Labour Party membership card for 2002 comes with an extraordinary computerised begging letter from comrade Blair. "After the general election party funds are critically low," he writes. "Any donation you can afford to give in addition to your membership fee would e greatly appreciated." What, fled so soon, all the super-rich bastards who ought the election?

The hand of Peter Mandelson has been I detected in the media furore whipped up against Mark Bolland, spin-doctor to Prince Charles. The two were very good friends, but Mandy is jealous of Bolland's success in modernising the Prince of Wales. This, along with the investigation by Elizabeth Filkin, the Commons sleaze buster, into the financing of Mandelson's recent speaking tour of Hong Kong, cannot help the campaign to draft him as HM Ambassador in Washington, in the role of the Peter Jay de nos jours.

Mandy's pal Matthew Taylor is inviting well-heeled thinkers to stay with him during the Labour conference in Blackpool next year. …

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