The insider - Kevin Maguire is surprised by a silver BMW

Dave's barnet part deux, a tell-tale beamer, and Lemsip with the Bard of Barking

Citizen Dave is gambling on another Westminster new boy, who similarly believes the personal is worth more votes than the political when it comes to winning what would be a first by-election gain for the Tories in the era of digital telly and iPods. With vultures circling over several sickly Labourites, Grant Shapps was quietly appointed head of a six-strong team to parachute into sudden vacancies. Citizen Dave wants no more Dunfermlines, where the Tory vote went down. Shapps printed what must be a record 22 smiley pictures of himself in his general election address for Welwyn Hatfield; the tactic paid off and he ousted health minister Melanie Johnson on a dizzying 8.2 per cent swing. Copied across the UK and Michael Howard might now be premier, Citizen Dave an obscure minister.

A traumatic away day with a group of MPs to Poland and Auschwitz-Birkenau, on a trip organised by the Holocaust Educational Trust. The Home Office minister Paul Goggins is shaken by the date scrawled on a suitcase of one of the many victims. Its owner would have been only 11 years older than him, pressing home how recently the evil was unleashed. All - Tory, Lib Dem and Labour - agree to show no complacency over the rise of the far-right and odious BNP.

Iranians after Italians seal the fate of Tessa "That'll Do Nicely" Jowell, with No 10 seeking a suitable juncture to drop the Culture Secretary as the dodgy face of Labour's May local election campaign. The word from Downing Street is Tony Blair is anxious to avoid further humiliating a minister as ignorant as he about money, mortgages, properties and criminals. Party dominatrix Margaret McDonagh has been secretly disinterred, the outgoing premier asking Lady McD to perform a final task for him by limiting Labour's London losses. The continued presence of a silver BMW outside That'll Do Nicely's north London family home, incidentally, raises eyebrows over the tearful marriage split. A passer-by swears it's Mr Jowell's pranged motor, or perhaps someone else in that neighbourhood owns a nice car with a knackered nearside wing mirror.

The recounting here last week of speculation over whether Citizen Dave dyes his barnet results in a snout shuffling up to mumble, "Look at the brother, look at the brother." Citizen Dave's barrister brother Alex, older by just a few years, is indeed greying. I underline the note to keep an eye on those tiny grey flecks visible on the Tory One's otherwise luscious head.

A stroll out of the Gothic Fun Palace for a chinwag with Billy Bragg about his "Hope Not Hate" anti-racist tour. The Bard of Barking suggests a coffee bar then asks for a cup of hot water for his Lemsip. Whatever happened to hellraising rock'n'rollers, never mind Lunchtime O'Booze?

Kevin Maguire is associate editor (politics) of the Daily Mirror

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