Commons Confidential: David Davis’s lonely meal for one

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Chillaxer emeritus David Cameron was the star attraction for selfie-hunters at last weekend’s Wilderness Festival, the posho jamboree held near his Chipping Norton stomping ground. A flamingo-pink Disco Dave gamely posed for snaps with a hen party but other revellers were left exhausted by his “freaky” patter.

The former prime minister dismayed old school pals with unsolicited scare stories about the government’s planning for a no-deal Brexit, a snout tells me. “A real buzz kill,” one of the hipster Old Etonians moaned. Tories who heard the tale are bemused at Cameron’s chosen means of killing the vibe. “It’s not as if he did any Brexit planning himself, or that Theresa would confide in him,” one sniffs.

Tough times for George Freeman, the Tory backbench chin-scratcher behind the right’s feeble imitation of Glastonbury. The second edition of his Big Tent Ideas Festival kicks off at a science park in the Cambridgeshire countryshire next month. Last year’s was held at the Berkshire pile of a big-money donor. With costs high and takings low, colleagues whisper that Freeman has had to shift venues to save on catering. Though he fancies himself as the intellectual godfather of Tory renewal, he’s more of an embarrassing uncle.

Plans for a Labour split are usually discussed sotto voce but one Westminster office hasn’t read the memo. Corbynistas lunching on the roof of 1 Parliament Street found themselves eyeballed from a nearby window by an old Blairite nemesis: Liz Kendall. A poster from her 2015 leadership campaign still maintains a silent vigil. The cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.

Ex-SAS teaboy David Davis has taken to roaming Westminster’s corridors alone, Rambo-style, since quitting high office. Regulars in Bellamy’s – the parliamentary canteen with all the charm of a dentist’s waiting room – note Davis has joined them. Save for a brief encounter with fellow Leave ultra Frank Field in the stir-fry queue, the former Brexit secretary dines alone. The only deep and special partnership he’s forging is with the salad bar.

Famously fond of listening to their own voices, Ken Livingstone and George Galloway are now charging a tenner for the pleasure. Labour’s disgraced duo, billing themselves as “The Outsiders”, are hitting Liverpool with a stage show next month. The prospect of the odd couple spinning yarns about their old mate Jez will fill the Labour leader’s office with dread – and the title of their gig raises eyebrows for another reason. Gorgeous George, a host on TalkRadio, is so much of an outsider that he works for Rupert Murdoch. 

Patrick Maguire is the NS political correspondent. Kevin Maguire is away

Patrick Maguire was political correspondent at the New Statesman.

This article appears in the 08 August 2018 issue of the New Statesman, The rise and fall of Islamic State

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