B-b-but Joanie, I thought, whimpering like a whipped cur, what have I done to deserve this? It falls to every man to receive his share of humiliation at the hands of the female sex. But never, surely, has an innocent wooer been requited with such a deafening slap on the cheek.
To say that I have fawned on Joan Collins is to do an injustice to the Amoco Cadiz quantities of top grade oil I have lavished on Britain’s foremost female film star.
Years ago I interviewed her for this newspaper. I laid it on with a trowel, and of course she deserved it. They asked me to review her novel Too Damn Famous. I pronounced it little short of superb. As our relationship bloomed, I was privileged to publish her excellent diaries in the pages of The Spectator. When there was some mix-up, and we had to hold her piece over for a week, I sent her a bunch of flowers roughly the size and shape of an armchair.
Fool that I was, I came to think there was a bond between us. I imagined that she was my ideological soulmate. And so you can imagine my pleasure when the Evening Standard rang a few weeks ago, and told me that Joan was backing the Tories – yes, the Tories. She was particularly impressed by Michael Howard, they said. Did I have anything to do with it, the Standard wanted to know, and I am afraid to say that I preened. I of course denied that I could in any way have influenced her decision, but my vanity allowed me to hope that I did.
Fool, fool, fool! As you will now have seen from the news, Joan Collins is not backing the Conservatives at the Euroelections. Here I am, vice-chairman of the Conservative Party, having spent nigh on 10 years sucking up to Joan Collins, and what do I get? At this critical moment, just when the Blair Government is on the ropes, just when the Tories at last have the wind in their sails – what does she do? She chucks me over for UKIP. She has succumbed to the charms of Robert Kilroy-Silk, he of the Aztec chiselled chin and the skin the colour of marmalade.