Village life - Kevin Maguire catches a rat in the tearoom
A rat is found in the tearoom, a cyber fool is exposed, and class war returns to the Commons
No 10 Sleazy Street's money troubles bring a rare case of a rat swimming back to the sinking ship. Stephen Byers, for it be he, is working the tearoom, loudly accusing Big Gordie of fomenting unrest over loans-for-lordships to hasten the outgoing premier's exit. My man eating a digestive swears he overheard a chap bearing a striking resemblance to Byers also rubbishing Labour's financial whistle-blower, Jack "Drongo" Dromey, as the "most useless treasurer ever". Drongo was the only prominent union leader never to have called on Tony Blair to quit. Then again, actions speak louder than words.
Harriet Harman's prospects of becoming Big Gordie's running mate are zero despite Sleazy Street's punting of Mrs Dromey to smear Mr Dromey. Hattie told Big Gordie in 1994 she'd back Blair if Brown stood, and the Chancellor never forgets or forgives. Increasingly fancying his chances as deputy PM is Peter Hain, the Northern Ireland Secretary seemingly spending more time with trade unionists than Ulster unionists. Asking the Amicus godfather, Derek Simpson, what he needed to do to secure the support of the brothers and sisters, Hain was told "practise".
A contrite e-mail from the research assistant of Mark Pritchard, the Tory tyro, is redirected to my inbox. The Wrekin MP considers himself a crusader, the appointment of a "cyber security tsar" a current favourite. Thus it is with regret I read this apology for a possible breach of the Data Protection Act, after Pritchard inadvertently distributed private details of 700 protesters against a hospital closure. The cyber fool, by the way, is also a director of an internet company.
Sleazy Street's little local difficulty over loans stalled the outgoing premier's plan to despatch Blairite ministerial outriders across the country to hail him as a visionary leader. As Labour MPs revolted over schools, the PM summoned his Magnificent Seven - James Purnell, Andy Burnham, David Cairns, Jim Murphy, Jim Knight, Caroline Flint and Liam Byrne - into his Commons hideaway. Go forth and evangelise, he declared, and tell an ungrateful nation all I have done and will do for it. Or at least words to that effect. All unsaddled except Knight, who turned up at the Labour South-West conference to deliver a pre-programmed oration of toe-curling loyalty. It went down as well as a Charlie Falconer joke.
The idea that Citizen Dave dyes his hair is catching on, with tactful Dennis Skinner yelling, "Yu black lead yu hair, yu black lead yu hair", when he spies him. The Old Etonian's discomfort is nothing to the distress of chum George Osborne. "Yu changed yu name, Gideon, yu changed yu name" is the Beast of Bolsover's friendly salutation. It's pleasing to witness the return of class war to the Commons, a retired miner terrorising two young toffs.
Kevin Maguire is associate editor (politics) of the Daily Mirror