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Monday, March 01, 2010

If there's one thing people have always said about me, it's that I attract Nobel prize winners like a magnet. No, really. And yesterday was no exception. Over the weekend, Brighton played host to two of the most significant and newsworthy events of the year so far: the Conservative Party's Spring Forum and the X Factor Live Tour. And as luck would have it, they were held within a hundred yards of each other. So with Amelie keen to meet David Cameron, and me a big fan of Jedward, the two of us headed along the seafront yesterday morning to rub shoulders with the great and the good.

Well, we didn't head straight along the seafront. We actually went to Aldi first. If you're going to meet the Tories, you need to check the price of eggs first. Unfortunately all they had were chocolate ones, and I'd never throw one of those, so instead I took Amelie to the nearest sex shop. Sorry, I mean Cex shop. We often pop in to see what they've got on the top shelf. It's where they keep the PC games.

By the time we'd finished faffing about in town and started heading for the Hilton, it was gone twelve-thirty, but fortunately there's nothing politicians like more than a free lunch, and if there's one thing guaranteed to winkle them out of a conference, it's a plate of hot food. So we cunningly made our way to the seafront along Preston Street, the road of a thousand restaurants. We then cut through Regency Square, rounded the corner, and came face to face with...

The Blue Baron... David Trimble! Yes, David Trimble! That's him on the left, pictured with the sentence he deserves for joining the Conservatives. Having signed the Good Friday Agreement and won the Nobel Peace Prize, there's obviously nowhere to go with your career but down, so he duly became a Tory peer in 2007. He's now known as Baron Trimble, just to prove that politics really is a pantomime.

Anyhoo, the only problem with finding yourself alone on a deserted stretch of pavement with the former leader of the Ulster Unionists, is that it makes it very difficult to pull out a camera without it looking like an assassination attempt by the Real IRA. I didn't want to startle the man and get myself arrested. I did want to say hello and ask him to pose for a photo with Amelie, but despite recognising him instantly, I couldn't for the life of me remember his name. And I was worried I'd get flustered and call him Ian Paisley.

So in the end I just smiled, Amelie miaowed, Trimble trembled, and we let him walk on by to the nearest tapas bar. But I like to think those two seconds of eye contact were the highlight of his day. He just had the kind of face that didn't show it.

Anyhoo, I know the press are reporting that it was a bad weekend for the Conservatives, but personally I disagree. Trimble might have scarpered like a greyhound out of the traps the moment the conference broke for lunch, but Cameron should be buoyed by the fact that the entire left wing protest outside the Hilton Metropole seemed to consist of one grey-haired old man with a placard...

The Right to Protest
... and when I got closer, it just read 'Jedward To Win X Factor'.