Sunday Ludicrous rows, episode 159. I knew that bloody Sir Percival Trench-Tooth, Lord Comptroller of the Household Privy (the bloke I had the run-in with during Cliff Richard's rendition of "Living Doll" at the palace), was trouble. He's been leaking to the opposition - the Daily Outrage - that The Master was trying to get an enhanced role for himself during the Queen Mother's funeral. It seems he thinks that No 10 was pushing for The Master to ride from Westminster Hall to the Abbey sitting on top of the catafalque. Myrna Bloom, the PS, swears blind that all she did was ring Trench-Tooth a couple of times to find out whether the PM was being allowed to turn up at all. Anyway, whole thing goes ballistic, Master and Ali denounce press lies (a tautology if ever there was one) and get the whole pack snapping at their genitals.
Tuesday Ludicrous rows, episode 160. We're just bracing ourselves for yet another merde-embossed report from Gudrun Dimwitty's committee, when Mrs Master goes and drops us right in it.
The story, as I have it from Boss Hilary, goes like this: Mrs Master is opening some charity function for blind Muslim children in the company of the queen of Mexico or somewhere. They're leaning across some poor kiddy who's just trying to have his lunch, when Laura Leer from the BBC throws in a quick, career-making question: What do the two ladies think about suicide bombers in the Middle East? What Leer knows, and Mrs Master doesn't, is that a maniac with a ton of explosives strapped to his chest has killed loads of people minutes before.
Mrs Master, caught between the heartless "no comment" and the perilous extended "my analysis of the Middle East peace process", goes for the quick burst instead. "We won't have peace as long as there's violence," she says recklessly. Balloon goes up. Siege starts. The Master, innocently making nice with the prime minister of Brazil, gets only questions on Mrs Master. Within minutes, the poor old wife is issuing apologies and retractions as though she was Blind Lemon Blunkett.
Wednesday It's bad all right. The Daily Outrage has got what it likes most - a left-wing woman as a target. The front page virtually accuses Mrs Master of planting bombs herself. Inside, Carol Leigh-Malone (The Woman Who Gives It Out Straight) calls upon Cherie to be prosecuted for incitement to violence, and says: "The only woman with the right to an opinion about politics was Margaret Thatcher! She alone, among our sex, understood the world." And you can imagine just how excited people are, over on the Today programme.
And what are we doing? Panicking, of course. I lunch with Starbuck at an Italian near the EurOK offices (I'm trying to keep up with the referendum campaign).
"You'll of course have your own views on the Cherie situation," says Starbuck, with that peculiar smile of his, "and of course you'll be right." He pauses to fork some porcini into his gob, then continues, waving his fork. "But I think we need to take action."
Like what, I ask him. "It's radical, I know, but from now on they're going to be after her, and she's bound to slip up again," predicts Starbuck. "As long as she's in the public eye, then, like M or Bye Byers, she will be the story."
I give him my most quizzical look, but he goes on, unworried. "So, like them, she must go, I'm afraid. For the sake of the party and the project. She'll just have to resign as Prime Minister's wife. Hard, but necessary.
"Of course, there will have to be a reshuffle. The Master will need a new wife. Now call me mad, but did you ever watch Pop Idol? Suppose we were to let the people vote on a successor . . ."
I call for the bill.