How Citizen Dave plans to steal Christmas
Should Dave play Santa when he's a child-benefit-snatching Scrooge?
Citizen Dave's bag carrier and part-time Territorial Army major Desmond Swayne slyly mocks the Cut-servative Party's supposed new spirit of togetherness. As PPS to the people's toff, Swayne addresses fellow Tories as "comrades" in emails. I know this because he inadvertently put several Labour MPs, including Sedgefield's Phil Wilson, on distribution lists before hitting the send button. Apparently Cameron wants every unpaid PPS to persuade his or her minister to keep the nervous 1922 Committee informed, using Cut-servative backbenchers as an "early sounding board" of trouble ahead. Swayne styles himself "Dessie" when issuing instructions. Comrade Dessie? I suspect the New Forest MP will be reactionary, not revolutionary, when he reads this column.
A Downing Street elf whispered that Cameron is trying to hijack Christmas. The PM's in-house Max Clifford wannabe, Andy “I Knew Nothing" Coulson, is arguing that the venue for the traditional party for offspring of Westminster hacks should be switched from No 11 to No 10. Alistair Darling was ho-ho-ho host towards the end of the Labour years and George Osborne might scare the kiddies: an austere figure, in or out of a fluffy white beard. But should Citizen Dave play Santa when he's a child-benefit-snatching Scrooge?
Nick Clegg's ancestors were not as nice as he tries to appear. The retired Labour MP Joe Ashton drew my attention to the book Sheffield Troublemakers: Rebels and Radicals by the local historian David Price. To understand the Lib Dem Deputy PM's anti-Labour instincts, we must go back to his forefather Sir William Clegg (1852-1932). Sir Bill led the steel city's Liberal councillors into a "Citizens' Association" coalition with the Cut-servatives after the First World War, then led the right-wing opposition to trade unions in Yorkshire during the 1926 General Strike. Young Nick was only following family tradition when he agreed to be Cameron's fag.
I hear Cameron has one thing in common with Tony Blair and Gordon Brown that he'd like to keep quiet: he swears a lot. Bruiser Brown was a leader who looked as if he did, while Cameron and Blair project a nice, posh-boy-next-door image. The profanity of choice of all three is "f***". A snout who recently heard Citizen Dave cursing was tickled when the Bullingdon Boy followed his f-words with a twee "Please excuse my French".
Eric Pickles is fed up with Cameron's quips about his weight. The cabinet heavyweight doesn't look like Jabba the Hutt by accident; he consumes a full English breakfast every morning despite starvation rations that have left his Communities department severely undernourished. Pickles, I'm told, fears that the fattist quips may reduce him to a political lightweight. So, to prevent him becoming a waist of space, friends tell anyone who will listen (and a few who won't) that Big Eric has a sharp brain. As proof, they cite his love of opera. Who needs the Three Tenors when there is one Eric Pickles?
Kevin Maguire is associate editor (politics) of the Daily Mirror