Over the past year, the Conservatives have been discreetly "love-bombing" a group of about a dozen free-market-oriented Lib Dem MPs. It's been so discreet that, in some cases, the Lib Dems didn't even realise it was happening. Ed Vaizey, the clubbable Tory MP for Wantage and close Cameron acolyte, has been deputed to be in charge of Operation Lovebomb.
He even shared a tent with Nick Clegg on a week-long trip to the Arctic, such is his devotion to the task. No one should underestimate the importance of cross-party personal relationships when it comes to political negotiations.
Fascinating...except that Ed Vaizey's account of this inter-marquee love bombing attempt, via Tara Hamilton Miller in the New Statesman, suggests no consummation. Far from it:
One Tory more than familiar with Clog is the Conservative pin-up and shadow minister for culture, Ed Vaizey. He spent six gruelling days with the Liberal Democrat lovely, trekking to the Arctic with huskies (Tory canine of choice). The experience is clearly fresh in his mind.
"Nick's a lovely guy but he's terribly vain. For the entire trip he harped on about how he was number one in a Sky poll of 'Most Fanciable MPs' and that I was only number nine. We shared an igloo and the intimate, bonding evening chat was based on how good-looking he is. I was referred to only by my fanciability ranking of number nine," Vaizey says. "Oh, did I say he's a roaring Sloane and he talks in his sleep?"