The Slog’s Tenmole surfaces briefly to report that a crisp ‘n’ blue telephone conversation took place between The Prime Minister and his Lord of the Lies earlier this week.

Lord Mandelson may continue to insist that he is the best of friends with (and the power behind) Gordon Brown, but the bad body language from yesterday (above) suggests a whole different reality. And this is as nothing compared to the bad language aimed electronically at the hapless Peer last Tuesday.

The Slog’s as yet undiscovered Downing Street double-agent reports that Gordon’s Gothic Gob was spouting fluent Anglo-Saxon during the exchange, a syntaxical form he tends to adopt when there are no new numbers to hand. The phrase “two can play at this f**king spin shit” appears to have featured strongly during the fully frank conversation.

Mandy isn’t having an entirely jolly time at the moment. I hear he is finding it hard to motivate Tony Blair, a man unused to speaking engagements not accompanied by all those fancy five-noughts fees. But Lord M’s main cause for chagrin concerns the difficulty of fighting one’s way through a crowd of Scottish left-wing intellectual nutters and Unite militants in order to get within manipulation range of the PM’s ear. A room full of noise is less to his taste than a room full of boys.

The reality is that Mandelson’s influence is on the decline (again – it goes up and down like a Hungarian trade official) as is his enthusiasm for trying to inject some reality into the Brownites. James Purnell, meanwhile, continues to be upset about the “severe damage done to the Labour movement” – something for which he blames Mandy and Tone – while on the other hand attacking the Brownites for “not facing the economic reality that Britain is now a poorer nation”. Despite himself, Mr Purnell may yet turn out to be a genuine member of The Resistance.