There is no one QUITE like the Conservatories for picking a fight with their own party. Only they can manage that special combination of SOUR GRAPES and SELF-IMPORTANCE.
This week it was the Thirteenth (unlucky for some) Marquis of Lothian, the Very Right Honourable Earl of Ancram who kicked off, managing to rain all over Mr Steven Dolly's pamphlet launch.
"Save our Soul!" Ancram slaps Balloon.
"Urgh! You're Bizarre!" Dolly slaps Ancram.
"Ooo, You're such a Blast from the Past!" Balloon slaps Ancram too!
Playtime over, it was time to get back to the serious business of Mr Balloon making an idiot of himself.
"Conservatories should think carefully before opening their mouths," said Mr Balloon, opening his own gob wide to stick both feet in… and then shooting himself in the foot!
If "blasts from the past" are BAD NEWS then this week, the main culprit was… Mr Balloon.
As you know, "policy" in the Conservatory Party these days means less a firm commitment to action that will improve British people's lives, and more a dalliance with a committee here, a report there that may or may not make it to the manifesto depending on how it plays in the media and/or whether Mr Frown nicks it first. Nevertheless, "policies" were being wafted under our noses again this week to see if we would bite. And I'm sorry to say that there was more than a WHIFF of the TIME MACHINE.
By which I mean they were original in the 1890s!
To be FAIR, Mr Dolly was merely time-travelling back to the Conservatories' favourite haunt of the Eighties (PICK A CENTURY), with his cut-and-shut version of the old "Right to Buy".
His scheme is supposed to break up ghetto estates by giving the residents the exciting opportunity to take out a SUB-PRIME mortgage just at the point when the market has decided to collapse.
Presumably the plan is that instant negative equity will be some kind of incentive to residents to clean up the graffiti and clean out the drug gangs. Perhaps there will also be government grants for setting up their own VIGILANTE GANGS.
Mr Balloon, though, was going the whole hog and heading back to the future in the Fifties. This week's whim is to stage the reintroduction of National Service.
Being Mr Balloon, of course, the Conservatory-pleasing soundbite was immediately undermined by the details. This would be a VOLUNTARY national service. For six weeks only. With physical training including boot camp for the poor boys and mountain climbing for the nice chaps and chapesses.
Congratulations, Mr Balloon, you've just invented… the Duck of Edinburgh Awards.
No, wait! Apparently, you will have the "girly swottishness" beaten out of you. I am quite as nauseated as the very excellent Master Chris K says in this highly recommended piece on HIS diary.
It is hardly what "Yes, Prime Monster" used to call "a comprehensive education to make up for their Comprehensive Education." Still, at least you're not planning to train them all to kill!
Best of all, the poor saps, sorry, bright young hopes for the future who sign up to this malarkey all get to spend the first week on a course learning their "responsibilities".
Now, personally, I think that the RESPONSIBLE sixteen-year-olds will just have flogged themselves half to death doing their GCSEs and be expecting a well deserved HOLIDAY and not six weeks of Mr Balloon giving them the "you're all horrible little anarchists, you lot!" lecture.
And the IRRESPONSIBLE ones seem somehow a little unlikely to turn up anyway!
The rest of the course is dedicated to "community service" – basically, they will be sent to clean up graffiti and clean out drug gangs from the ghettos that Mr Dolly has just flogged off no questions asked.
Mr Balloon then went on to show just how RESPONSIBLE he can be… by laying into BOTH wings of his feuding party!
"Forget about those on the left who say I shouldn't talk about Europe, crime or lower taxes or those on the right who say I shouldn't talk about the NHS, the environment or well-being. That is a false choice,"said Mr Balloon.
"I'm not going make that choice – I'm not talking to ANY of you!"he added.