4 NOVEMBER 1972, Page 7

Corridors . . .

PUZZLE HEARS THAT the great reshuffle is coming this weekend. It was planned for two weeks ago, and then again for last week; now it seems definitely on. The Prime Minister no longer loves Puzzle and so did not tell him what the plans were. But it is known that he wants to increase the female element in his Government and both Sally Oppenheim and Joan Hall have been tipped. Puzzle hears that the second statutory woman will be neither, but rather Mrs Elaine Kellett-Bowman.

PUZZLE IS NOT musical, but he understands that at classical music studio recording sessions the truly dedicated professional does one major performance which, whatever its imperfections, goes out as the commercial product. Less dedicated folk have a record stitched together from the best bits of their rehearsals. When the Prime Minister went to the EMI studios recently to record his version of Elgar's Cockaigne Overture with the LSO he was asked how many takes he would like. " One " he said crisply.

DID ANYBODY KNOW that on John Peyton's desk there is a replica of the trophy struck after the great nineteenthcentury dock strike? Or that it is a personal gift from Jack Jones? Some ministers, then, have more than recent acquaintance with trade unionists.

WHY IS IT THE CASE that the Government has employed the same firm of economic consultants to advise it on both Foulness and the Channel Tunnel, thus tempting them, if only unconsciously, to encourage in their reports the common development of that area of the country which least needs to be developed?

PUZZLE HEARS that his old friend Raymond Fletcher, the Tribune group member has given up that passion for unconventional aviation about which he once waxed so lyrical, and has taken up taxis instead. He is the valued adviser to the London cabmen's union which has broken away from its TUC affiliated former union, in order to be non-political.

WHEN EDWARD HEATH became Prime Minister he installed his private secretary, Douglas Hurd, in a room next to his own in Downing Street. The Civil Service locked the door connecting the two rooms, so that Prime Minister and secretary might not have private conversation unknown to the mandarins. The door is now unlocked.

ONE OF THE THINGS the mandarins worry most about is the danger of a Civil Service registered private secretary becoming too loyal to his minister — more loyal, that is, than he is to the Service. An eagle eye is therefore kept on young men who show signs of excessive loyalty, and they are moved before it becomes too virulent. If the minister tries to keep his man the technique is to explain gently to him how reten tion will hinder the private 1SP secretary's chances of promotion.

Tom Puzzle