Conservative Diary

Light relief

31 May 2012 15:58:40

Overheard in the Treasury: Part Three...

By Paul Goodman
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David Gauke (Answers phone): Gauke speaking.

George Osborne: David, George here.  Now, about those charity tax plans -

(Line interrupted by loud cursing and smashing noises.)

(Long Pause.)

Gauke (To Private Secretary): Get me Boris's number, will you?

31 May 2012 15:36:27

Overheard in the Treasury: Part Two...

By Paul Goodman
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David Gauke (Answers phone): Gauke speaking.

George Osborne: David, George here.

Gauke: Chancellor!  You must have seen Newsnight yesterday.

Osborne: Newsnight? Why? (Pause.) Was Boris on it?

Gauke: Er...No, Chancellor.  But I was.

Osborne: You were. Why?

Gauke (Stiffly): I was defending the, er, adjustment to the pasty tax that we discussed yesterday, Chancellor -

Continue reading "Overheard in the Treasury: Part Two..." »

31 May 2012 14:58:02

Overheard in the Treasury: Part One...

By Paul Goodman
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Ring ring.  Ring ring.

David Gauke (Answers phone): Gauke speaking.

George Osborne: David, George here.

Gauke: Chancellor.

Osborne: Sorry to bother you, but...some bad news, I'm afraid.

Gauke: Sorry to hear it. Is it Boris again?

Osborne (Worried): Boris?

Gauke: Yes, Boris.

Osborne (Alarmed): What have you heard?

Gauke: Sorry?

Osborne: What's he done now?  Called for Britain to leave the EU?  Urged that Leveson be scrapped? (Voice rising.) What's his latest plot to deprive me of what one day should rightfully be mine...

Gauke (Puzzled): Nothing, as far as I know, Chancellor.  It's just that you said that there's bad news, so I assumed...

Osborne (Relieved): Ah.  Phew.  All well then.

Gauke: Yes, sure, Chancellor, but...what's this bad news, then?

Continue reading "Overheard in the Treasury: Part One..." »

24 May 2012 07:37:32

Major global media brand signs deal to become shirt sponsor of massive football club.... AFC Bluebirds

By Tim Montgomerie
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Well, nearly.

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Tim Montgomerie with AFC Bluebirds Captain, Hudson Roe

ConHome is delighted to be the new multi-pound sponsors of AFC Bluebirds - a five-a-side football team of Tory parliamentary researchers. In my dreams I see this as a first step towards becoming a sponsor of Man Utd and having a very nice box at Old Trafford.

Meanwhile good luck to the Bluebirds...

20 May 2012 10:21:39

Caption contest: David Cameron celebrates Chelsea's Champions League win

Cameron and Merkel watch Chelsea

Via the White House flickr feed. Let us know your ideas for a caption for this photo. Play nice!

Monday morning update, the best captions:

Opinions are divided among world leaders upon announcement of the breakup of the Eurozone - James

"I've just beaten my high score on Fruit Ninja!" - tomdaylight

"My SPADS told me to raise my hands in celebration when the round thing goes through the opposing team's white rectangle. But did I get the correct rectangle?" - Phil Kean

"YES - Greece have been knocked out of Eurozone 2012 in the last minute of extra time !!" - Dick Dolby

The Prime Minister displays statesmanlike impatiality after the results of the recent elections to the1922 committee finally get through to Camp David. - Princess Mathilde

At a screening of the Iron Lady, reactions are mixed as Thatcher says "Sink it!" - Archimedes

1 May 2012 10:00:26

The Hunt is on for film of the Culture Secretary dancing the lambada. ConservativeHome opens the bidding.

By Paul Goodman
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Full marks to the Guardian for inventiveness.  It has tracked down Jeremy Hunt's lambada teacher this morning.

And full marks to him, too.  Joseph Koniak (check out his website) avoids saying anything disobliging about the Culture Secretary, who has a sprung dancefloor at home on which to "cut the rug".

"Amazing guy, amazing personality, nothing but a gentleman," says Mr Koniak. "Dance comes from the heart and that's one thing Jeremy has – a big heart...The best students are the ones who have an open mind and a willingness to learn and forego their ego. If you can do that, there's no limit."

The Guardian's competitors will not let this rest.  Honour won't be satisfied until Mr Hunt's efforts are displayed on film.  Never let it be said that ConservativeHome doesn't get there first.  The Culture Secretary is clearly the gentleman in the green shirt at 1.37 below.

5 Apr 2012 18:25:32

Basil Fawlty, David Brent and Hyacinth Bucket would vote Tory --- Postman Pat and Fireman Sam would vote Labour

By Matthew Barrett
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YouGov have an amusing poll out today, showing how the public think some of Britain's best-known fictional characters would vote. I have summarised the results below:

Fawlty ToryTory-voting characters

  • Basil Fawlty
  • Alan Partridge
  • David Brent (The Office)
  • Hyacinth Bucket (Keeping Up Appearances)
  • Victory Meldrew (One Foot In The Grave)
  • Ian Beale (Eastenders)
  • Ken Barlow (Coronation Street)
  • Mike Baldwin (Coronation Street)

Labour voters:

  • Del Boy Trotter (Only Fools And Horses)
  • Jim Royle (The Royle Family)
  • Smithy (Gavin and Stacey)
  • Postman Pat
  • Fireman Sam
  • Dot Cotton (Eastenders)
  • Pat Butcher (Eastenders)
  • Phil Mitchell (Eastenders)
  • Jack Duckworth (Coronation Street)
  • Vera Duckworth (Coronation Street)

Continue reading "Basil Fawlty, David Brent and Hyacinth Bucket would vote Tory --- Postman Pat and Fireman Sam would vote Labour" »

1 Apr 2012 08:00:03

EXCLUSIVE: The Daily Mirror's Kevin Maguire to join 10 Downing Street in controversial Tory fightback

By Tim Montgomerie
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Kevin Maguire is set to join the Number 10 Downing Street press operation in one of the most sensational moves of Cameron's time as Tory leader. The Mirror journalist and constant critic of the Conservatives will join Team Cameron after the Prime Minister's most difficult week since forming his Coalition government.

The Tories have lacked a tabloid touch since Andy Coulson was forced to resign. The PM rejected appointing a Sun journalist to his team for fear of reigniting suspicions that he's too close to Rupert Murdoch and his newspapers.

George Osborne made the surprise approach to Mr Maguire in the belief that he has the skills to help the Conservative Party reach the northern and working class voters who will decide the next election. Steve Hilton, the Prime Minister's outgoing guru, argued that it would be helpful to have a left-wing journalist inside Downing Street - able to anticipate Ed Miliband's lines of attack. Mr Maguire has told friends that he won't become a Conservative but says it's hard, as a patriot, to refuse a request to serve a sitting Prime Minister. The keen sportsfan also relishes the opportunity to accompany the PM to Olympics events throughout the summer. He won't be the first Labour person to advise the Coalition. Ex-Labour ministers Alan Milburn and John Hutton have done so.

Tory MP Peter Bone has reacted furiously to the news. He said that Mrs Bone has threatened to tear up her Tory membership card if a Mirror journalist becomes an aide to David Cameron. The views of Mr Bone Jnr are currently unknown.

Continue reading "EXCLUSIVE: The Daily Mirror's Kevin Maguire to join 10 Downing Street in controversial Tory fightback" »

5 Feb 2012 15:08:42

To mark 200 years of Dickens, Jeremy Hunt gives one of the great author's books to Cabinet colleagues

By Tim Montgomerie
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Jeremy Hunt is again tipped as the next Health Secretary in this morning's newspapers in the event of Andrew Lansley 'moving on'. That job will only be handed to him, however, if he helps to deliver upon his great task of delivering a successful London Olympics. He's described the 2012 Games as the supreme test of the Coalition's competence. Gulp! It may be a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire for Mr Hunt. There is a suggestion that Osborne sees him as a future leadership rival and the health brief might be as much of a poisoned chalice as a promotion.

Meanwhile the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport is planning to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens by giving every one of his Cabinet colleagues a copy of one of the great author's works. Each book - carefully chosen to encapsulate something about the recipient - will be presented at Cabinet on Tuesday.

Clegg as OliverMy favourite choice is a copy of Oliver Twist for Nick Clegg. The official explanation is that the Deputy PM has responsibility for social mobility and Oliver's rise up the social ladder from the care of Mr Bumble to Mr Fagin and then to Mr Brownlow's home in Bloomsbury is, apparently an inspiration. The alternative unofficial explanation is that Nick Clegg reminds Mr Hunt and other Conservatives of Oliver Twist always asking for more. This, of course, is where fiction and reality part company. In the book, young Twist is greeted with a "no" by the powers-that-be.

Continue reading "To mark 200 years of Dickens, Jeremy Hunt gives one of the great author's books to Cabinet colleagues" »

2 Feb 2012 07:26:55

Introducing the Conservative Baldemorts

By Paul Goodman
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Screen shot 2012-02-01 at 21.29.41

Readers may remember that Conservative Home celebrated the election victory of the bearded Mariano Rajoy in Spain by granting imagining beards to David Cameron, George Osborne and other senior Tories.

Continue reading "Introducing the Conservative Baldemorts" »