Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Cam's Clubland Clash

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Cam's Clubland Clash

Article excerpt

Nicholas "Fatty" Soames has the build of a chap who could have been invited often to Cam Dine With Me, yet the Tory heavyweight is one Old Etonian who is persona non toff in Downing Street. The Conservative Party's rough wing sniggers that it's because Fatty makes Cameron feel common, Winston Churchill's grandson being even posher than the stockbroker's son. The prosaic explanation is that he's a wobbling embarrassment. The MP for Bon Vivant Central made a great fuss over the Budget, but not at handouts for millionaires, pension-grabs or VAT on Greggs pasties. Fatty, a one-time director of Wiltons, the top-dollar restaurant, was incandescent that Angostura bitters lost a tax perk. In clubland they're all in this together.

Raised eyebrows at increasingly delphic mumblings by Michael Gove. The Educashon dunce likes to let politicians know that he, a former reporter for the Times, is the brightest star in any room. And now corridor. Gliding past the Labour whip Phil Wilson, Gove was overheard passing the judgement: "Ah, Mr Wilson. A very wise man," before resuming his levitation down the hallway. The modest Sedgefield MP later wondered if Gove was referring to Harold. Snouts whisper that no, it was Phil, who took one for the team when Eric "Rambo" Joyce went on the rampage.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Ed Miliband walked into the Commons for the Budget statement with a plan B speech, I hear. The Labour leader's team reckoned cutting sop tax would be a kamikaze run by George Osborne, so it didn't believe the leaks, fearing that they were a feint to wrong-foot Mili. …

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