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Jerry Hayes

Gordon Brown at the Zoo, drunkenness on the Terrace & Michael Gove not in a blue movie shock.

July 13th, 2010 by Jerry Hayes

There is something deliciously appropriate that Gordon Brown held his election thank you party at the London Zoo yesterday. Perhaps Broadmoor was full. Maybe Rampton are fussy about the people  they allow in. So the Zoo it had to be. But we haven’t been told where. Was it in the the reptile house? Oh, the fun of seeing Balls crawling from under a stone to spit occasional venom. And then of course denying it. “Me an insurgent?”  Well, at least he wouldn’t say he was obeying orders. Oh, the joy of seeing Mandelson uncoiling like some venomous basilisk, to first gently lick his victim into poison induced paralysis, before swallowing him whole. Perhaps, before their dying screams were muffled by his undulating gullet he sibulently whispered that they were, ” fucked, finished and futile” . Or, why not the Monkey House where the Milichimps, well bananaed, would be chittering excitedly about values and reconnections  under the Kong like gaze of a chest thumping Prezza?  It couldn’t have been a joyous event, with the air noticeably chilling at the entrance of Gordo, a Dementor like apparition sucking the souls from  the very breaths of the revellers.

But on Sunday I went to a much happier event. Jeffrey Archer’s 70th birthday summer party. Well, it wasn’t so much happy as joyous. The Archers know how to entertain with warmth and gusto. To hire the splendid Kit and the Widow to wickedly take the piss out of him in song and persuade Major, Thatcher, Lamont and a giggling throng to sing Nessum Dorma in Punjabi (well, actually replacing Verdi’s words with a takeaway menu), is nothing short of genius.

And this tends to be the difference between New Labour and the modern Tories. We know, even in adversity, how to let out hair down. With some notable exceptions, the new intake of 1997, were a pretty dull lot. The bars and restaurants in the Commons were deserted. Well scrubbed Blair babes, with the attitude of  of extras from Dynasty and the garb of nuns on holiday, stalked the the corridors in the hope of sniffing out some sort of inappropriate behaviour or sexism that they could whinge to the Guardian about. It was oddly puritanical. If Labour learns anything about itself in the coming months it has got to be how to feel comfortable in its own skin. First, they have to find a skin that fits.

So I was mightily relieved to hear of late night drunkenness on the Terrace the other evening. I doubt whether we will go back to those wonderful days when after late votes Labour MPs would decant scantily clad lovelies from floating gin palaces onto the terrace. Or, when we would all be greatly entertained when the great Robin Corbett, then Shadow Law and Order Minister, would attempt his trick of knocking an egg into a glass with a hurled shoe. The trouble was he did it at the bar. Never had been so much been broken by so few. But although it is not always a brilliant idea to get so skulled that you can’t vote, I take my hat off to young Mark Reckless who fessed up straight away. No daft excuses. That lad has earned more respect for his honesty from colleagues than any amount of anal tonguing he can give the Coalition in the Chamber. And, after a couple of weeks, all but the most ghastly of po faced post-erectionists in his constituency,will think him a bit of a lad. Just don’t make a habit of it. Dear old Sir Nick Scott got caught out a few times. Nick was a kind, caring, non Thatcherite minister, who served in Northern Ireland. At the Irish Embassy reception at Party Conference the poor fellow got totally slaughtered and ended up in the the back of a squad car. The next day he ended up, bleary eyed for a drink at the bar. “Well”, he said to the assembled throng of journos, “that was a bloody good night. I still can’t remember how I got home!”  He did when we produced the front page of the Mirror with a picture of Nick prone on the back seat.

So the thing to remember is that the Commons works at its best when it is convivial and reasonably well oiled. I made more life long friends of all parties in Annie’s Bar. And when you are in trouble whether as a minister or in your private life, being seen as likeable and straightforward can mean the difference between political life and death. This is primarily why Gove will prevail over Balls. You might be interested to know that there is a film available on You Tube called The Feast At Midnight. This is  a tale about a naughty boy at a Public School. There is a starring role for the ever so slightly dodgy chaplain, who is played by a young aspirant actor called Michael Gove. But before the tabloids start salivating, there was not a hint of sex.

But for some people it’s best that they never touched a drop. I was sitting in a Commons bar one evening, when George Brown asked if he could join, “you wicked Tories”. Now George seemed to think white wine was a non alcoholic refreshment and he’d drank a few buckets before he joined us. Slowly, he noticed Richard Holt who was not blessed with the looks of Brad Pitt. “Good God” slurs Brown, who’s that ugly bastard ?  A few vats later George staggered to his feet and warmly embraced us all, promising us everlasting friendship,”and especially you Holt. You are quite the ugliest cunt I’ve seen in my life.” Now that is not the way to win friends.

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PMQS:Punch didn’t just hug Judy, he almost rammed his tongue down her throat and rogered her on the back benches

June 2nd, 2010 by Jerry Hayes

Can you imagine the air of Gothic gloom that descended upon the Prime Ministerial study when he first heard that cerebral maverick Douglas Carswell, Dan Hannan’s representative on earth, was to ask the first PMQ today? If Cameron dived for the Nokia, it was not to imprint on the brow of his Chief of Staff, Ed Llwellyn, but to call the Chief Whip. “Patrick, it’s bloody Carswell. Sort it, but I don’t want to see any marks”. So off would lumber McLochlan, clutching government issue electrodes, searching for a spare battery and Carswell. As it happened, The Chief Whip did his job beautifully, there was only a hint of mischief in his question about electing the Lords.

But what was so remarkable about this PMQs was that it was so devoid of tribal politics. Punch didn’t just hug Judy, he almost rammed his tongue down her throat, ripped off her knickers and rogered her on the backbenches. Gone was the clunking fist, the recitation of the latest achievements in tractor production, replaced with what appeared to be a genuine attempt to answer questions. Cameron even welcomed new Labour members to their seats. One wonders how long this will last.

But what really must have almost returned Cameron’s Camelot to Brown’s Gormanghast, was a quick read of today’s Carswell blog which disapproved of planted questions. What?  Aaargh! Quick, get the Prozac!  The trouble is whole system relies on planted questions, because  MPs are either too dim or too lazy to put anything of any useful coherence down in writing. Government’s plant questions to showcase their achievements and Oppositions plant questions to show what total tossers the government are. PMQs are one notch up. The government wants to put their PM in the best possible light and the rest just want to dangle his blood soaked genitalia from the chandeliers. And I speak as someone who made  planting questions an art form. And darn hard work it is too. First, patrol the bars like some grubby door to door salesman; buy a few drinks, get some of the guys to agree; draft some helpfuls; draft the supplementary; make sure your guys are in their place in the chamber reasonably sober; follow each line and then write a letter of groveling thanks.

Now I do hope that PMQs remains at 3pm. It will add to the jollity simply because it is after lunch and many MPs will be well refreshed, as will the sketch writers. I couldn’t get a whiff the Johnny Walker aftershave this afternoon as everyone was on their best behavior. But that won’t last for long. Slightly squiffy MPs can get rather excitable and add spice to the sheer unpredictability of the place. I can remember being on my feet asking a question, only to be seized by the arms by two drunken Knights of the Shire and dangled directly above Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nigel Lawson. Sadly, such high jinks were never recorded as this was in the days before Parliament was televised. But the collector can find archived delights such as a comatose fatty Soames snoring away like the Empress of Emsworth and the splendid Nicky Fairbairn collaspsing in a vodka sodden heap after asking Thatcher a question. Although my all time favourite was delightfully drunken Tony Beaumont Dark asking a question with such force that his dentures flew across the chamber and nearly embedded themselves in Dennis Skinner. That was nearly a bridge too far.

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