(Not) keeping up appearances...
"HELLO, the Thomas residence! The Lady of the house speaking!" trilled Cllr Pamela, answering the phone on the hall way table beneath Sheridan's graduation photo.
Given this week's headlines about some of Liverpool council's female members not keeping up appearances in terms of their attire at important civic meetings, Mr Brocklebank can't help but picture Hyacinth Bucket every time he thinks of deputy chief-whip Pam Thomas.
For a leaked email (the best kind, of course) reveals that she has chastised some of the female contingent over their casual dress, and issued a proscribed list including "cardigans, vests, T-shirts, baggy and/or unpressed clothes" which "count as casual and are not appropriate for formal meetings".
Although she praised the male mob of Labour councillors, Mr B recalls that some of them also needed a nudge on assuming power.
As Cllr Pam had written to every female in order not to single out the known culprits, so a directive went round in May 2010 warning all the men that shirts and ties would now be required. As it was, 99.9% were always well turned out, apart perhaps from one who used to wander around at the back in tracksuit bottoms and a T-shirt (Onslow to Cllr Thomas' Hyacinth, perhaps).
Although, with several portly gentlemen councillors in well-worn suits turning out at planning every week, proceedings do take on the look of "a Bernard Manning concert at the Embassy club", according to one of Mr B's sources. But at least everyone's donning a tie these days, give or take the odd soup stain.
Of course, Cllr Thomas' edict from upon high brings back to mind a certain now-retired city councillor who was gently criticised in the local press for performing their civic duties while in China sporting a shell suit, of all things.
But, back to the present, perhaps Cllr Thomas' distaste for "cardigans, vests, t-shirts, baggy and/or unpressed clothes" is made all the more amusing when one considers a photograph of her winning her seat at the 2010 elections, sporting ... a cardigan, no less!
WEST DERBY MP Stephen Twigg knows all about being mistaken for stars of the small screen.
Many times have his city Liberal Democrat opponents drawn the comparison between the shadow education secretary and ex-Whose Line Is It Anyway? 'comedian' Tony Slattery.
Bad enough, one might think, until one hears from him that he has on occasion been confused with BNP leader Nick Griffin!