Jed away for three weeks on horseback safari in Botswana and nobody knows who’s in charge. Nigel says it’s The Three Georges, Poppy reckons it’s Mr Maude, Wonky Tom says we ought to ring Sam — she’s bound to know what to do (‘All right, my darlin’, getcha notebook out...’).
We will have to muddle on. Tom and I are doing a Grammar Schools Rebels stock-take — we estimate it’s 98 per cent of MPs and peers, including all of front bench, plus entire voluntary party. Personally, I feel this is going to make it difficult to draw a line under things by sacking Mr Brady. Last thing Jed said before he boarded flight to Gaborone was ‘Get me a list of the traitors!’ — so maybe the ‘Clause Four moment’ is actually going to be sacking all 104 shadow ministers who are against us. Actually that was the second-last thing he said. The very last thing was ‘get Terry to put my bags on the next flight, I’ve left them in the front garden’. Someone will now have to calculate the Carbon Offset for a three-piece set of Louis Vuitton and a Smythson’s leather-bound Travel Spa. Can things get any worse?
Calls from Jed, 135; emails from Jed’s BlackBerry, 49; calls from Jed’s girlfriend begging us to ignore Jed’s calls and emails, 210.
Nigel says we are almost in ‘Unite or Die’ territory, although obviously we cannot re-use the title of an old crisis (that would be taking the party back!). So we are setting up a Crisis Naming Committee. ‘Grammargate’ is lame. We need something sexy and dramatic. ‘Clause 104’ perhaps?! Dave can then make an electrifying appeal to the party to unite behind his decision to refuse to admit there’s been a cock-up or risk electoral oblivion.
Unfortunately, Jed rang from the Kalahari game reserve to give orders that we do the complete opposite. His exact words, ‘Hold the line, don’t admit we’re refusing to admit anything, threaten everyone, sh*t that’s not a f***ing honey badger that’s a f***ing leopard why won’t this damn horse turn round?!’
This got me thinking. I wonder if he’s using the right leg aids? Maybe he needs a crop? I could earn brownie points at this difficult time by giving him a few tips. Tried to ring but his phone dead.
Our lifestyle guru Sherwood brought in a basket of mini muffins today and took down all Jed’s ‘We are the Problem’ signs in a bid to boost morale and get the right energy flowing.
It seems to have helped Gids who sauntered into the Hub whistling the theme from The Italian Job. Mr Willetts and Mr Letwin not so happy. Walked in on them having terrible row about the relative merits of streaming versus banding in the Meditation Space. Sherwood thinks it may now be polluted beyond repair. He made the boys sit on beanbags while he doused their auras, but is not hopeful.
Jed just rang from a dugout canoe on the Okavango Delta to tell us all to focus. Mr Letwin and Mr Willetts are to stop ‘rearranging the napkin holders on the Cutty Sark’ (the things that pair get up to!). Nigel is to start briefing who else we’re going to sack. Obviously Nigel cannot possibly do this. So we’re dividing the names up. He’ll do the beginning part of alphabet, I will brief letters ‘G-L’, Poppy ‘M-R’ and so on. It feels good to have a plan.