I’m told self-styled man of the people Nigel Farage looked a bit of a prat in an old boy’s black-and-blue-striped blazer and tie on a return to his alma mater. The smouldering snout watched as the Ukip leader visited Dulwich College, the private school in south London that charges day pupils £17,400 a year. The young Nige was accused by teachers of being a “fascist” and shouting “Hitler Youth songs”. The older Farage denied the allegations, suggesting that lefty teachers were causing trouble.
Farage’s two daughters were in tow and sniggered disloyally when cartoonist Martin Rowson cheekily suggested Farage strip off to be sketched nude. Nigel mercifully declined. I wonder if he’ll wear his Alan Partridge-style old boy’s blazer-and-tie combo when Ukip stages its autumn conference in Doncaster to appeal to working-class northerners.
Newly promoted Michael Fallon must feel lucky when he’s chauffeured around town in the Defence Secretary’s tank-sized armoured BMW instead of sharing a Prius in the Business Department. On the eve of the reshuffle, at a defence manufacturers’ shindig, contemplating the pale, male, stale colleagues who were to be mown down as if on the first day of the Somme, Fallon was overheard musing: “They’re all being culled for the girlies.” He’s all heart, Fallon.
Old Etonians look after their own. A very grand source whispered that David Cameron has promised his school chum Ed Llewellyn a cushy diplomatic post to reward his chief of staff after next year’s election. The word is that Little Ed is heading for Rome. Her Britannic Majesty’s embassy in the Eternal City, a modern palace designed by Basil Spence, should satisfy even an Old Etonian. The electrical plug sockets are the standard British three-pin, so Llewellyn wouldn’t need to buy adapters.
Paranoia cloaked Ed Miliband’s US jaunt in secrecy. Fearful of an Obama brush-off or a trial by hot dog, the party refused to release advance details. Then one of the few hacks invited – BBC politics editor Nick Robinson – pulled out. Heigh-ho.
The phantom bike snatcher struck again in the precincts of Westminster, with the theft of Julian Huppert’s transport. The formerly freewheelin’ Lib Dem is co-chair of the all-party parliamentary cycling group and was miffed to turn up with his helmet to find the machine had vanished. Dennis Skinner’s was nicked a few weeks ago, and Miss Marple would notice that both disappeared over weekends. This isn’t the first time Huppert has lost his bike. It was confiscated in 2012 when he didn’t read signs warning that racks were being replaced at Cambridge Station.
I saw a tear drip down the cheek of Stephen Hammond when the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, praised his axed roads minister. Hammond is seen as one of the most decent Tories. Maybe that’s why Lizard of Oz Lynton Crosby, who is the real PM, decided he had to go.
Kevin Maguire is the associate editor (politics) of the Daily Mirror