Village life - Kevin Maguire bids fairwell to Blair babes

Purple faces at No 11, no comment at No 10, and the DDs get the DTs over DC's DVD

Purple faces at the Pink 'Un after a heated No 11 lunch between Big Gordie and Financial Times scribblers. Forks flew as the Chancellor accused the City rag of - deep breath - politicising economic stories. The exchange was so lively that Big Gordie and the Pink 'Un editor, Andrew Gowers, retired to continue their full and frank away from the hirelings, before kissing and making up. Life's so much more civilised on a red top.

To toast the sisterhood at the launch of a tome celebrating the advance of women in parliament or, as the guests grandly prefer, the rise of new suffragettes. The co-author, Margaret Moran, demands an end to the Blair babe tag, the former whip describing herself with the merest hint of menace as a Blair witch. For the Tories, Caroline Spelman collects an award (a copy of the book) on behalf of a late Theresa May on behalf of an absent Gillian Shephard. Tessa Jowell makes the dubious claim that there were more members called John than female MPs when she was first elected in 1992. The atmosphere is civilised and convivial. Most unlike Strangers' Bar the same night which, packed with parched MPs returning in need of refreshment, resembles Douglas Adams's Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

Good news for government skivvy Meg Munn. The unpaid deputy minister for women and equality wowed the Soroptimists, a female movement in the Women's Institute mould, with a barnstorming call to arms to close the pay gap. So inspired was the tweedy wing that it is to put down the knitting and take up the cudgels on behalf of discriminated women. Top priority is to secure a salary for Moneyless Munn, with MPs to be lobbied on behalf of the penniless minister.

Another turn in the Tory hate-fest with the grumpy David "Unaccustomed

to public speaking" Davis camp muttering that shooting star David "Call me Dave" Cameron's team should be in the dock over a glitzy DVD portraying the Tory Blair as JFK, Diana and Nelson Mandela all rolled into one. The DDs with the DTs darkly suggest that use of TV footage breaches copyright, as they cast around for a patsy to ring the BBC. Those close to the billionaire Tory peer Michael Ashcroft, by the way, whisper he's got something against Michael Gove, the Times hack-turned-Cameroonian MP.

In the Numero Dix bunker, shutters are coming down during the last days of Blair. The once-fabled spin machine is idle, and has been renamed the No Comment Department. Desperate operatives fighting a rearguard action declined to provide any details of a tete-a-tete between the outgoing premier and the French presidential hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy. Across St James's Park the French embassy confirms the time, place, sundry other details and proffers a full read-out. Vive la France!

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 17 October 2005 issue of the New Statesman, Barack Obama