Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Not Just a Donis but the Donis

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Not Just a Donis but the Donis

Article excerpt

The cat is in the bag and the bag, like a Poohstick dangled over the edge of the Bridge of Sighs, is a mere moment from being in the river. Nothing has changed, yet everything is different. The strange autumn of 2008, when people clutched at the straw that Gordon Brown, of all people, might save the world, has passed. Reality has returned and the party, and coincidentally myself, are both in fine fettle.

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To take the party first. The polls do not lie. Labour is finished. Alan Duncan, who has taken to singing, "Flash--a-ah--saviour of the universe/Flash--a-ah--he'll save every one of us/Ha ha ha" as he walks down the Palace of Westminster's corridors, has reported back that not only are Labour MPs getting the joke, they are laughing at it.

We, meanwhile, have shown our serious side by bringing Kenneth Clarke back into play. During the campaign if they bring Brown on to bowl we will send in David, if they bring on Mandy we will counter with Kenneth and if, and only if, they hand the ball to Darling will we need to call upon young George. At a stroke, we have neutralised their strongest man while marginalising our weakest link. I would call it genius, if it were other men's work.

Osborne still has a role to play. It was he, for instance, who was instrumental in bringing David Freud on board (every party needs a Freud!). And it is he who has received the ear-bending task of sounding out Lord Adonis, or as Chipper Alan Duncan calls him, "Lord not just a donis, but the donis". Little wonder the shadow chancellor has been looking somewhat wall-eyed.

Your columnist, after a confab with a very grateful DC at the Black and White ball, will, in contrast, be operating at the more populist end of the market. Let me elucidate. For some time we have been batting ideas around as to how to get the message across that, to use a phrase of Coulson's, "the celebrities are onside", without resorting to cringeworthy Kenny Everett-style stunts. …

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