If Iain Dale needs confirmation that he is now in the big time he can look at his rocketing RAJAR figures or review his increasingly frequent media appearances - or he can reflect in the glory of this bizarre tale.
On Friday, completely unannounced, a man turned-up at West Kent Towers. He was clutching a Selfridges carrier bag.
"Forgive me for turning up un-announced, but you are my last hope. Do you by chance know Iain Dale...?" I admitted that I did, though deliberately didn't sound too enthusiastic in case our unknown visitor was bearing a grudge. "Thank goodness, I was about to give-up" he said, pulling from his bag two pristine copies of Iain's "Memories of Maggie" book.
He introduced himself as an "inactive member" from one of our better heeled villages. "My friend and I have copies of this book, and we have been looking for Iain everywhere as we would love him to inscribe them for us. Do you think that could be arranged? As he spoke he got out a cheque book from a particularly prestigious private bank. "I appreciate it will cause you a degree on inconvenience, so I am happy to make a small contribution to Party funds..." I tried not to look too obvious as I craned my neck to count the 0s - though as I took the payment I did feel a bit like a street hooker sticking a £5 note down her cleavage.
"I am sure Iain would be happy to oblige - though it might take me a couple of days to get hold of him."
After he had left I saw the Director of Paperclips looking at me with a hint of scorn mixed with disappointment . "You're shameless" he said. "Is there nothing you won't do to grub a few pounds..." I tried to argue, but I had to admit that being Iain Dale's pimp was a new low, even for me.
FOOTNOTE: Iain has indeed agreed to sign the books, but offered something better. He has a number of fly leaves pre-signed by Baroness Thatcher at the time she launched Statecraft. Iain offered two of these to our mystery donor in exchange for a donation to Tracey Crouch's campaign fund. Our mystery donor was delighted to oblige - and has agreed a five fold increase in his original contribution. Thank you, Iain - everyone's a winner ;)