Even Jeremy Clarkson Was Moved to Tears
Donald, Gideon, New Statesman (1996)
What went on at the 30th Anniversary Dinner I hosted in Margaret's honour remains at the 30th Anniversary Dinner I hosted in Margaret's honour. But, to give you a soupcon, I can reveal that Elton John's reworking of his classic "Candle in the Wind" reduced many grown men, and Jeremy Clarkson, to tears. Even Margaret smiled wanly as the great singer-songwriter sang, "Loneliness was tough/The toughest role you ever played/Westminster created a superstar/And pain was the price you paid." It was, in every sense, a night to remember.
And a welcome escape from the regiment of untalented women who are seeking to become Tory MPs for seats which our unstinting efforts have made safe even for candidates as lacking in credentials as they are. Have you ever met Kirstie Allsopp? There is no earthly reason why you should have, but . you may have seen her on one of those ghastly property programmes (she is, to be gallant, the bouncy one). Anyway, Allsopp is a limited conversationalist who flounders when discussing anything other than property - not a subject that plays especially well on the doorstep, at present. Despite this, so few are the potential female candidates that there was talk of parachuting our "unofficial housing adviser" into a Home Counties berth. Arranging a dinner a deux between Francis Maude and Allsopp scotched that. But there is no limit to her perseverance and she will, I fear, be back.
Meanwhile, our "friends in the press" campaign notched up another useful scalp last weekend. The strategy has long been to truffle out those who were most committed to New Labour on the grounds that they would be most likely to believe in pretty much anything if it advanced their career. …