What will my former school chum, Philip Hammond, do with himself now? He’s thought better of standing as an independent in the coming election, cut his losses and walked away from parliament. I wonder if he’ll be tempted to return to his roots.
When I knew Phil ‘the Goth’ at Shenfield Comprehensive in Essex, he had a finger in a lot of pies. When he wasn’t fencing in intellectual debate with our history master (Phil was easily the cleverest boy in the school and ran rings around his teachers), he was making money. One of his projects was running a disco.
Later on, he flogged second-hand cars. Soon ‘Eeyore’ will be a fading memory and we’ll be looking for a new soubriquet. Funky Phil? Or maybe Forecourt Phil: would you buy a used car from this man? You might not have a choice — Phil doesn’t tolerate no deal.
This article is an extract from Richard Madeley's Spectator diary, available in this week's magazine.