MY WEEK

'There are whole swathes of words which have become suspect: bachelor, churchman, scoutmaster, lawyer, inherited wealth, property developer, publisher, weatherman ...'

Like other citizens, I have spent some of the week worrying about the constituency of Tatton where the Labour candidate announced that he would stand down in favour of a "man of probity", which the Lib Dem man thought a good idea and would emulate. The egregious Neil Hamilton, who is alleged to have committed financial improprieties and eaten unwisely, though well, at the Paris Ritz, is sitting on a substantial majority - but one the other parties put together might overturn; this is especially likely if the sitting member's support diminishes and he goes on holding hands with Mrs Hamilton each time the television cameras roll.

Thirty years ago an anti-sleaze candidate would not have been hard to find, for the list of the great and the good contained names of copper- bottomed blamelessness. No more.

There are whole swathes of words which have become suspect: bachelor, churchman, scoutmaster, lawyer, inherited wealth, property developer, publisher, weatherman, agony aunt, Catholic, Lottery winner; "celibate" raises more questions than it answers; "virgin" is not to be entertained.

The number of professions that retain a consistently honourable image is diminishing even as the information required about the private life of a candidate increases with every scandal. I imagine the successful Tatton candidate will be a veterinarian widower who took early retirement to look after a widowed father; he will have one handicapped son and a married daughter in New Zealand. Age 56. Hobbies: home brewing and badminton; educated in Scotland. Clubs: none.

His campaign will consist of a number of meetings at which he will be flanked by supporters of total integrity while constituents are invited to question his blamelessness: "Have you ever made a quick buck?" would of course be meant in the financial sense. A vote by him for any party during the last three elections will be treated with suspicion.

Can Tatton afford to be without an MP who twice weekly tables his question asking the Prime Minister to list his engagements? What we call "a working MP".

As George Walden rightly said when tendering his resignation to the Conservative Association of Buckingham: "There are too many members in the House; being an MP is about as useful as a flat cap in a submarine." It was not until I met Walden some months after reading his sphinx-like statement that I discovered he had meant to say: "A catflap in a submarine."

Getting rid of Blameless of Tatton MP might not be simple: application for The Chiltern Hundreds has about it an element of impropriety and the House of Lords is not for the recently arrived. He might have to hang on in there "to show what everybody might/become by simply doing right", to quote the Liberal MP for East Salford (1906-1910) who did not much like the House of Commons.

On Friday evening I suspected that Tatton's agents provocateurs were up and running. I was in Liverpool for the Grand National, stayed at the Atlantic Tower Hotel which always reminds me of Averill Harriman's assessment of General Eisenhower: "suffers from delusions of adequacy". Though the Atlantic Tower is nice with it, they sent up to my room better-class luggage than I had checked in half an hour previously.

I dined that night at EST on the Albert Dock, a restaurant that is so trendy and popular that they barely bother to look after the people who go there. I walked back along the Mersey.

Sporting Life advertised on Thursday that it was available in Liverpool hotels nightly at 11.30 and I asked for a copy of the next day's broadsheet to be slipped under my door when it arrived. Before midnight I heard a scrabbling noise, went to the hall and found lying upon the carpet not my best racing paper to which I had looked forward but a card from an escort agency called La Femme, whose motto is "24 hour service; it is never too late to give us a ring." They did not state for whom it is never too late.

If I were the sponsor of a prestigious race and the broadcasters of the air and the hacks of the earth intoned and wrote my company's name before each rendering of "Grand National", I would deposit the odd bottle of my product behind the press bar or give flasks to members of the media not too proud to accept hospitality.

As a result of Liverpool's three-day festival, I have decided to put Hennessy in my black coffee, Delamain into my hip flask, flare my bananas in Remy Martin, fry crepe suzette in Courvoisier and drink Hine with my coffee.

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

    £17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

    £17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

    £17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

    Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

    £16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Day In a Page

    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'