The Santa-like features of Paul Mackney, general secretary of lecturers'
union Natfhe, have been seen in the restaurants of London recently as he joins the business lunching circuit - a luxury he has shunned in the past.
Is he feeling nervous about the potential power struggle with Sally Hunt, boss of the AUT, the university union, with which his own is about to merge?
My spies tell me the two of them are getting on fine. Indeed, one informant claims Ms Hunt has already agreed to step aside for Paul to avoid an unseemly contest.
Which brings to mind the fabled Blair-Brown discussion at Islington's Granita restaurant before Labour came to power.
"We did go to Pizza Express recently, " said Paul, "but there's been no Granita moment."