Tearoom chatter turns to exactly when the outgoing premier first suspected Two Shags's traditional values in a modern setting embraced the mentoring of Tory voter Tracey Temple. Prezza's people recall an illuminating quip by Blair. Soon after the office gossip started, when the mistress was glimpsed nuzzling her lover in an elevator, the outgoing PM tipped up at a party in his deputy's empire. To avoid potential scandals, giggled the Downing Street vicar, he never got into a lift alone with a woman who was not his wife. Either a million-to-one coincidence, or the premier's left his dabs at the scene of the trysts.
Citizen Dave has fallen under the spell of the touchy-feely "mind guru" Octavius Black, who sounds like a character out of Hogwarts. An Oxford chum of the chinless wonder, he sets 90-minute brain-teasers to put Cameron's mind through what is billed as a mental gym. With the wheels coming off the Tory leader's husky-and-bike image, now that he's trailed to work by a Lexus, he needs to think positively. Black is behind Cameron's favoured lime-green ties, which are supposed to exude fresh and wonderful vibes rather than leave the wearer looking puce.
Battle lines are drawn in Downing Street as the outgoing premier's staff split into two camps: "capitulators", who urge him to set a date and end damaging speculation over the timing of his departure, and "ultras", advocating no surrender to the Brownite hordes. My man with a ringside seat reels off the names. The capitulators include éminence grise Ali C, pollster Philip Gould, chief speechwriter Phil Collins and Mandy's former helper Benji Wegg-Prosser. Head honcho Jonathan Powell is rallying the ultras, including David "Over the" Hill and John McTernan, political secretary. McFixer, incidentally, is guilty of looking on the bright side of life. A note to Labour MPs detailing "issues of interest" on Black Wednesday failed to mention Two Shags or Nurse Hewitt's suppository.
After a lifetime of stirring up trouble, Nick "Nukie" Brown finds himself cast in the role of peacemaker. The one-time farm minister and chief whip was prevailed upon by the employment minister, Gerry Sutcliffe, to broker a deal between Asda and the GMB union, which was threatening to leave supermarket shelves unstacked. Nukie Brown is to be rehabilitated when the capitulators win the day and Big Gordie is in No 10.
Kevin Maguire is associate editor (politics) of the Daily Mirror