5 JULY 1975, Page 12

Westminster corridors .

It is an inexpressible Pleasure to know a little of the World and be of no Character or Significancy in it. To be ever unconcerned and ever looking on new Objects with an endless Curiosity is a Delight known only to those who are turned for a Speculation. And, of course, to my Lord George-Brown.

Being the only member of the Ruffian Party who has ever actually been to Europe, it was obvious that he should be chosen by our beloved Prime Minister to lead the Ruffian Delegation to Strasbourg. When he was approached by Mr Wilson, my Lord George came out with the aphorism I have loosely paraphrased above.

Mr Wilson, naturally, was not deceived and rushed for comfort to the Duchess of Falkender (who happened to be holding a press conference with one Lobby Journalist in particular) and screamed: "He is still after my job. He refuses to go. I have offered him Strasbourg, foie grus, Gewurztraminer, ,Joe Haines, power and glory, and still he will not bloody well go."

"Whom, Harold?" exclaimed the Duchess, caught (as it were) in mid-conference. "Who," corrected the Lobby Journalist in question who has a nice touch with Grammar (his nickname for the Duchess).

"George Hyphen Brown, that's who," bellowed the Prime Minister. "Whom," corrected the faithful Haines (who hopes one day to be a famous Lobby Journalist). The Duchess divined that some further inducement was necessary so she hit upon a ploy (which was very painful for the Lobby Journalist aforementioned, who has assumed a semi-recumbent posture by this time) to persuade the errant hyphenated Peer to go to Strasbourg.

"Make Mr Edward Heath (a Sailor) leader of the Tory Group and then tell George that they can ride in tandem," she suggested. Mrs Mary Wilson thought this an indecent suggestion, but no one paid any attention to her (no one ever does).

So off the Duchess went to see her great friend, Mrs 'Harmony Hair Spray' Thatcher.

They sat in adjacent chairs at a very well known hairdresser's and agreed that it would be•a wondrous thing if the main rivals for the leadership of their respective Parties could be got rid of in this way.

Mr Heath (a European) was in the Admiral's Cup ("lucky Admiral," quipped the Duchess saucily) when they approached him and he was not available for comment. Accordingly, 'Harmony Hair Spray' told her friends in the Press (to name but Mr 'George Gardiner of no fixed abode for one) that Mr Heath had accepted.

Sailor Heath was negotiating a Buoy in the Solent when he heard of this outrage and

picking up something known as a ship-to-shore telephone called the Political Editor of the Thunderer, a certain Mr George Hutchinson. "Rubbish," Mr Heath bellowed into the instrument, "she never offered."

Mrs Thatcher said (by way of reply) that she remembered theepisode perfectly well. She had

called on Mr Heath in a chandler's shop :sooner had the grog been brought in th came straight out with her offer. Mr Heatho went on, toyed with the zip of his anorak andA without hesitation replied that he had made ItiAd position perfectly clear. He wished to remain.##t a backwater for a time.

This contretemps (a French word Mr Wils1:01./, picked up in Paris along with a nasty dose of theA garlic tummies) caused the Prime Minister 4rbil little embarrassment. He found it necesAaryrtof; introduce something called 'open GovernitselitV which Mrs Mary Wilson thought was•cli idea — "like open day at Giles's schooLl'elslhe said, "and we can have strawberries in the garden afterwards" — to explain the appawatx. impasse over the Delegation to Strasboungrio'n1:

"Jim and I," the Prime Minister said, nolitktingw. in the direction of Mr Eric Varley, a VoyeurrOf great industry, "have decided that it would,bed entirely appropriate for Lord George-Bromic...oil captain the British team in this year's Admizialsli He went on to explain that the Ship of SPatnii had been handed over to Master Energle1t,04 Benn for a re-fit before being launched in the Round Pond at Kensington Gardens to the strains of the Red Flag performed by the massed bands of the Huyton and District Recorder Ensemble.

"With this vessel we shall solve all our problems in the next six weeks," Mr Wilson said in a very emotional way. Only the Tories of Woolwich West did not believe him, but that is another story.

Tom Puzzle