Cameron's champage ban

I overheard a City grandee complaining that the names of the hedge-fund boys bankrolling the leader'

To Camerontown in Brum, where Druggie Dave's champagne ban took the fizz out of the Tory shindig. Well, that and the collapse of capitalism as they knew it. Inside the security cordon, a confused tribe struggled to make sense of events.

I overheard a City grandee complaining that the names of the hedge-fund boys bankrolling the leader's office had been leaked. The shadow cabinet heavyweight Eric Pickles took your correspondent to task for referring to him on this page as a town hall porker, and unbuttoned his jacket to show he'd lost a couple of stone under Cameron's fat-wa. Culture vulture Jeremy Hunt desperately needs to raise his profile, after he trotted on to the pitch as a sub for the Tory footie team and a party aide was heard to ask: "Who's he?" And Druggie Dave studiously avoided wine glasses and flutes in public, insisting that water be poured into a tumbler to avoid any misunderstanding in such sobering economic times. It was no party at the party conference.

The Work-harder Secretary, James Purnell, was fingered to Downing Street as the unofficial leader of a whispering campaign against the Supreme Leader. A snout muttered into my ear that it has been brought to No 10's attention that "Jimbo", his unaffectionate term for young Mr Purnell, displays barely concealed contempt for Irn Broon. The charge sheet is topped by a round of golf with a Blairite chum, Tim Allan, in which Jimbo is reported to have mocked his line manager at every hole. The Supreme Leader, I hear, is unhappy and it may end in tears. But whose tears?

The Ulster Unionist-turned-Conservative and Unionist David Trimble sounded distinctly confused in Camerontown. The Drumcree parader bravely predicted that most unlikely of political events, a Tory revival in Scotland, with a curious choice of words: "Our day will come." Perhaps Baron Trimble has spent too much time shooting the breeze with his new best friends, Gerry and Martin.

Ping! Ping! An email from an electronic snout recalled Jimbo Purnell organising a "hat party" in London's trendy club Home House. Very new Brideshead.

Lib Dem corner: word emerges of how saintly Vince Cable found his ordered Grauniad pinched from outside his Bournemouth hotel room. Tiptoeing down the corridor, he "borrowed" a neighbour's copy and then returned it, neatly folded, before they awoke. Discovering he still had the G2 section, back crept Saint Vince. The door opened as he bent down. Cue apologetic spluttering.

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

Kevin Maguire is Associate Editor (Politics) on the Daily Mirror and author of our Commons Confidential column on the high politics and low life in Westminster. An award-winning journalist, he is in frequent demand on television and radio and co-authored a book on great parliamentary scandals. He was formerly Chief Reporter on the Guardian and Labour Correspondent on the Daily Telegraph.

This article first appeared in the 06 October 2008 issue of the New Statesman, Perils of power