Vince’s secret reforms

Cable evidently doesn't hold the Chancellor, "Boy George" Osborne, in high regard, muttered my snout

Discretion is much prized by plotting politicians, and the clubs of St James's promise a safe haven away from the prying eyes of Westminster. Once through the doors and past the uniformed flunkies, members and their guests are obliged to take a vow of omertà. The standard drill is nothing's seen, nothing's heard. Quite right, too, you may add. And perhaps it was an anticipation of such invisibility that led Team Cable to gather in the cosy embrace of the Reform on Pall Mall. Vince, the permanently agonised Business Secretary, sat surrounded by Ed Davey the employment minister, lost boy David Laws, the economist Vicky Pryce, aka Mrs Chris Huhne, Lord Tim “on the" Razzall and the speechwriter-cum-KPMG lobbyist Neil Sherlock. Vinny evidently doesn't hold the Chancellor, "Boy George" Osborne, in high regard, muttered my snout - and tensions within the Lib Dems could come to trump those between them and the Tories.

It never rains but it pours for hacked-off Boy George. Just as the fuss over Wankergate was dying down, up popped a former prostitute, Natalie Rowe, on Aussie TV to heap further humiliation on the Chancer of the Exchequer by claiming Ozzy used to snort Colombian marching powder. The Buller Boy of course denies he was ever a cokehead. I'm told Ms Rowe, who was a dominatrix, has in the past made allegations of an eye-watering nature which, if proven, would be more painful for the self-declared wanker.

Sticking with Boy George a little longer, I gather Condé Nast suits were distinctly unimpressed that Ozzy views their glossy Conservative fanzine as what I'm assured is known as a "wank mag" in the publishing trade. Ozzy also irritated the BBC political talker Nick Robinson, who'd drawn the short straw to present GQ's Politician of the Year award, reminding guests that a wincing Blue Robbo was a Tory at Oxford, too. Asked later how
the Chancer could win the prize when his policies are flushing the economy down the toilet, Blue Robbo was overheard saying, “It was nothing to do with me." The same defence could not be pleaded by Dylan Jones, Tory groupie and editor of said posh wank mag.

Grumbling in Chatham House, the rather grand international affairs think tank, at its chairman, DeAnne Julius, signing a self-serving letter to the Financial Times, then going on the wireless to demand abolition of the 50p rich tax. Diplomats and spooks, mumbled my chap in the pith helmet, complain it's not the Chatham House way. Now, in what appears to be a crack in the establishment, they are moaning that the economist failed to produce hard evidence to back her case. Julius, a former CIA analyst, may already know who they are.#

So why did the godfather of Murdoch Labour, Tony "The Baptist" Blair, agree to play uncle to Rupert's youngest? My well-placed informant whispered that the ex-PM would still like to join his Spanish right-wing amigo José María Aznar on the board of Rupe's News Corp.

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 19 September 2011 issue of the New Statesman, Meet the next Prime Minister