The Swedes have taken over the asylum! Corridors are awash with blond men called Lars and Sven (not that I'm complaining), and everyone is singing along to Lykke Li's latest track. Dan, Ed and I were grazing the canapés at The Parliament's Swedish Presidency reception (lots of seafood) on Tuesday when some gangling intern thrust copies of the esteemed publication into our hands. Flicking through, Ed read out loud: "when the last Swedish Presidency started on January 1st 2001, its priorities were enlargement, employment and the environment. Eight and a half years later, the same issues feature high on the agenda of the incoming Swedish presidency", to which Dan said "And who says the European Parliament is just a talking shop?" I laughed along, of course. But I thought that the more talking Parliament does, the less law making they get done. So I don't really see how it's a bad thing.
Either way, I rather like having the Swedes in charge. I feel a sort of friendly gratitude to them – if it hadn't have been for their schools policy to fall back on I'm not sure how I would have made it through the election campaign. There are only so many times you can say 'At least we're not Labour'.
Good news for the delegation on the horizon: I stopped by the Kirkhope office to see if there was any space in their fridge for a couple of bottles of bubbly. It seems Champagne Fridays is making a comeback... anyway, that's another story. The good news in this case is that our esteemed leader is working diligently on a new leadership policy entitled 'inverse reactions'. Apparently, the trick is to do the exact opposite of what is expected at all times in the hope that this will sort of throw the group together: solidarity through confusion, just like in the Great War.
This clearly explains darling Dan Han's brilliant recent promotion to Spokesperson on the Legal Affairs Committee, in stark contrast to Kirkhope and chums trying to shut him up all summer. Personally I think it's simply wonderful that Dan's going to be doing even more talking as anything that raises the profile of us lot out here is fine by me. I can't tell you how dispiriting it is to be met with blank faces time and again when you tell people you work for an MEP.
Edging ever closer towards Tory Conference, hurrah. The boys downstairs have dreamt up the most fantastic little wheeze: as there are 54 members of the ECR group they're going to make a pack of ECR playing cards to hand out in Manchester. I have it on good authority that Hannan and Helmer have been pegged for the two joker slots and were more than happy to take them, and I can but guess that the beautific Emma McClarkin will be queen of hearts. But who for the knaves? Ed says he's going to run a book on this one come Monday, so I have the weekend to pick my four. Any tips, anyone?
Hermione will be back next Saturday with more from Brussels.
Which card will Kirkhope be? My best is on the Ace of Spades since that is the card he drew when in his very first Leadership Contest he tied in votes with Giles Chichester - it went to a draw of cards and ..the rest is history...
Ohh nooo not more playing cards!
I'd put money on Mr Weston making the Fox a Knight, priceless.
Not a comprehensive list necessarily but here's some thoughts:
Kings: Tim Kirkhope (hearts), Geoffrey van Orden (Diamonds), Giles Chichester (Clubs), Sir Robert Atkins (Spades)
Queens: Emma McClarkin (Hearts), Jackie Foster (Spades), Kay Swinburne (Diamonds), Marina Yannakoudakis (Clubs)
Knaves: Vicky Ford (not universally popular apparently).. (Diamonds), Syed Kamall (Hearts), Martin Callanan (Clubs), James Elles (Spades)