21 OCTOBER 1972, Page 7

Corridors . • •

STANDING BEHIND the Prime Minister at a party recently, Puzzle noticed two dreadful things. The sleeves of his jacket are pressed so that a sharp crease runs from shoulder to wrist. And, standing as he invariably does with his hands by his sides, Mr Heath continually clenches and unclenches his fists. Nervousness, or an itch for the throat of his interlocutor?

MR WILSON HAS another problem. Looking at his diary recently a friend of Puzzle's saw twelve social engagements listed for one day. "And that," said an aide gloomily, "means the equivalent of one large whisky at each."

SIR DOUGLAS GLOVER, ancient and inexhaustible former President of the Tory National Union, as usual outstayed all companions in the Imperial Hotel bar and lobby this year. Rising to go he was assailed by a mysterious lady of uncertain, provenance, with whom he danced. I-le seemed not to know her from Eve. Strange ladies have a way of turning up. Some years ago Mr Peregrine Worsthorne brought six tattooed ladies back to meet his colleagues of thepress under the impression that they were political science students from Sussex. And perhaps they were.

OVERHEARD at Blackpool, Mr Geoffrey Rippon: "The next worst thing to being out of government is to be in government without a job."

PUZZLE HEARS that the Labour Party establishment have set Dick Taverne up for execution in Lincoln. The fact of the matter now is that the Labour majority are hoping anxiously for a Tory victory in Lincoln: such would prove their long-held argument, that the basic effect of the Labour pro-European movement is to effect the return of an unending series of Tory governments. And the Tories intend to draft at least fifty top election agents into Lincoln for the by-election.

THE MASOCHISM of the Labour Party and the sadism of the Tories never cease to astonish poor Puzzle. One of the reasons why the Tories won the last general election was their cunning adaptation of an obscure Child Poverty Action Group analysis into the slogan, "The poor get poorer under Labour." Puzzle is told that the Labour Party believe that many of their voters stayed away from the polls because they believed this. How do political friends reward their friends, and enemies? Well, the Labour Party allowed CPAG a stall at their conference, in expiation. The Tories refused the meanest recognition to their friends. Only the curious student organisa tion, Pressure for Economic and Social Toryism, could be found to lease a corner of their stall to the coiners of the "Poor get poorer" slogan.

Torn Puzzle