Booth, Lauren, New Statesman (1996)
Tony's clones were discussing Prezza's mental health and Mo's farting
Last Saturday night, I'd been invited by the incredibly trendy Charlotte Raven to her relaxed cocktail-cum-birthday party. It was at her home in NW3--and I was the only one wearing a cocktail dress. Everyone else was in fabulously cut jeans and easy-to-iron shirts.
I didn't want to think about politics. I'd been up since 4am for my radio show, had reviewed the papers and heard 18 different views on what impact the latest poll results would have on Downing Street. I simply wanted to meet a roomful of drunken adults all pretending to be drunken teenagers. Things started well enough at the party, with Caspar, the ex-singer with "a really crappy band", chaffing to Damian, an ad man, about indie music over the potted palm. Beautiful and quirky women gossiped about dating, New York style, and two men were daring each other to do a complete striptease on the sofa. Perfect.
Then, the six words I hate most came drifting in from the kitchen. "The thing about William Hague is..."
The source's name was Ed or Matt or Jonathan, and he was introduced as someone who "knows Gordon". The moment he spotted me, he approached, a fanatical gleam in his eyes. My heart sank: when you're distantly related to Tony Blair by marriage and mis-marriage, there's never a night off. The Blair clones just have to have a go.
Groping miserably for a handful of crisps to sustain me, I felt like a naughty schoolgirl as he began bombarding me with Millbank-style questions. "First of all, what's wrong with NHS Direct, Lauren? Hmm? What's your problem?" This charming banter was followed by: "Why can't your sort just appreciate what we're doing for this country?" Feet away, ex-supporters of Militant were gleefully pogoing to Fat Boy Slim while I was trapped, struggling to outline reasons why "direct action should still exist in a 21st-century, middle-of-the-road democracy". …