Farage flies flag for . . . Sweden

Summer came and went and still we await Michael Ashcroft's evidence that Ed Miliband's spinner Tom Baldwin "commissioned" a blagger to con bank staff into revealing details of the zillionaire Tory peer's wheeler-dealing. Last July's accusation handed Conservative MPs a twig to beat Mili Minor whenever Little Ted criticised hacked-off Dave Cameron's employment of the Screwed of the World's Andy Coulson. The Lord Ashcroft of Belize hinted darkly he'd produce proof when both Baldwin and Miliband flatly denied the charge.

Baldwin was a relatively lowly deputy political editor of the Times during the alleged snooping more than a decade ago. Perhaps a more senior
Times journalist might be able to help Lord Ashcroft, perhaps an eminent figure who was once Baldwin's news editor and line manager. Lord A
will find Michael Gove sitting in Cameron's cabinet as Education Secretary.

Sweeted-toothed MPs returning to Westminster have a bad taste in their mouths. The Commons kiosk has run out of Bendicks mints, the confectionery firm having halted supplies to the Mock Gothic Fun Palace after switching production from Hampshire to Germany. House authorities are to convene a tasting panel to select a new purveyor of posh chocolates.

An emergency hoard of Bendicks in souvenir boxes is to be released for sale in October as Christmas gifts. The talk is of rationing in order to avoid bulk-buying by enterprising MPs tempted to earn tasty profits on the black market.

The peekaboo minister, Andrew Mitchell, was relieved he didn't reveal more in the confidential documents under his arm snapped in Downing Street by a photographer. The International Development Secretary, muttered a colleague, uses a special rubber stamp marked "Bollocks" to express disapproval on official papers. The Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, got off lightly with a few squiggles.

The flag-waving Ukip chief patriot, Nigel Farage, told a radio show on LBC 97.3 hosted by yours truly that drivers should buy cars "made in Britain" and get behind the wheel of motors manufactured in this country. So, I inquired, what does the True Brit own? By jingo, I do believe Mr Farrago's Volvo was imported from Sweden. Screech, bang, boom . . .

Shipping the bits and bombs needed to keep British planes flying over Libya has so far cost more than £62m. A parliamentary answer showed one part of the private sector enjoyed an unexpected windfall, with truckers slipped £250,000 to drive the paraphernalia of war to RAF transport planes. Road hauliers, unlike big oil, won't enjoy a peace dividend in North Africa because for them war is profitable.

The things you're told: a telly snout whispered Piers Morgan, CNN presenter, is thinking of applying for US citizenship. If he does, you read it here first. And if he doesn't? Forget it.

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

By Kevin Maguire

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 Cameron vs the shires

2011-09-12