"Have you noticed that Gordon Brown never seems to wear a coat? Some Number 11 watchers insist this is a legacy of the chancellor's former spin doctor, Charlie Whelan, who believed that a striding, besuited figure provides watching cameras with the most appropriate image for an iron chancellor. In fact, so ludicrous does Mr Brown now regard coat-wearing, that at a meeting of the World Economic Forum in Swiss mountain resort Davos last month he mercilessly mocked coated folk, insisting they were "soft". Today, however, Mr Brown heads for a G8 meeting of finance ministers in Moscow, possibly the ultimate test of his anti-coat policy. The temperature is forecast to be -17 degrees and City Diary agents - suitably wrapped up - will be watching the chancellor's wardrobe choices closely."
I would have thought that - on this morning especially - Mr Brown had rather more serious matters to worry about, being one of the big losers in yesterday's by-election. Joining him in misery will be Ms Stihler, the unsuccssful labour candidate who had to give up being an MEP in order to stand in the by-election and who now is neither MEP nor MP. An expensive loss for both.
Apparently, I have got it wrong. Ms Stihler remains an MEP and will be able to resume her career in the fleshpots of Brussels and Strasbourg. The Labour Party rules about having to resign a seat in order to contest another in a different parliament were "relaxed" on this occasion. See here.