Journalist who has become the story
Monday 20 December 2004
When asked to choose a candidate for the
Today programme's "Listeners' Lord" competition last week, Simon Hoggart nominated Boris Johnson for a job in the upper chamber.
When asked to choose a candidate for the Today programme's "Listeners' Lord" competition last week, Simon Hoggart nominated Boris Johnson for a job in the upper chamber.
He is, said Hoggart of the former Tory arts spokesman recently forced to quit his post after lying over an alleged extramarital affair, "a national treasure".
It is a status that The Guardian columnist himself has been in danger of aspiring to.
With his regular appearances on Radio 4 and television, his newspaper and magazine columns and a prodigious output of books on subjects ranging from American culture to the scourge of round-robin Christmas letters, he has one of the highest profiles of any British journalist.
He is currently the longest-serving parliamentary sketch writer, admired among his tight-knit group of fellow professional political tomato throwers as perhaps the funniest of them all. But, according to those close to him, none of his barbs is intended to leave lasting damage. "What is unusual is to find a humorist who is not unkind. I don't know how that works at all," one said yesterday.
His favourite target is John Prescott, on whose mangling performances in the Commons and beyond he has based an entire book. Next comes the Tory MP Michael Fabricant, or more accurately his "hair", which he wears "rather as if Sherlock Holmes had acquired a bri-nylon deer stalker".
A veteran of The Guardian and The Observer newspapers, Hoggart's admission that he was the "third man" in the Kimberly Quinn-David Blunkett affair was greeted with surprised amusement at Westminster yesterday. While he enjoys a reputation as the bon vivant in the big jumper - witness The Spectator wine column - and is known to enjoy animated conversations in female company, friends said he had hitherto enjoyed an otherwise "blameless professional life".
He has steered largely clear of referring to the Blunkett affair in his recent columns, although he did once describe Kimberly Quinn as "the best-read non-academic I know".
He may, however, regret remarks made during a recent radio interview after Mr Johnson's affair at The Spectator became public. "Why aren't I getting some of this Sextator action?" Of Johnson, he said: "How he finds the time for an affair I don't know."
Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign
Ellen DeGeneres leads Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow and Paul Bettany in revealing game of Never Have I Ever
- 1 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 5 Men behaving badly: Urinating while standing, 'manspreading' and the gendering of selfishness
£25000 - £28000 per annum + circa 28K + 20% bonus opportunity: Sauce Recruitme...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Are you an ambitious, money mot...
Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: A freelance Investment Writer / Stock Picker ...
£20 - 24K + Benefits: Guru Careers: An enthusiastic PPC Account / Paid Search ...