Matthew Norman's Media Diary

Every time I read an article about the Blunkett saga in
The Sun, I hear
Bridge Over Troubled Water, in the tones of Rebekah Wade, playing in my head.

Every time I read an article about the Blunkett saga in The Sun, I hear Bridge Over Troubled Water, in the tones of Rebekah Wade, playing in my head. "When you're weary, feeling small/ When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all"...

Day after day, the flame-tressed editor mops the Blunkett cheeks with the sturdiest Kleenex. "David Blunkett must be feeling very bruised today," began a leader last week, while Mrs Quinn lay in her hospital bed fearing the premature birth of her baby. "Mr Blunkett deserves sympathy. He does not deserve to have an outstanding political career destroyed by a vindictive woman who led him up the garden path."

If Blunkett held a powerful position in national life, such as a member of a boy band, the term "love rat" might have had a run out in a paper that tends towards the censorious with those who bed other men's wives three months into the marriage. So what explains it? Let me state, first of all, that this tendresse for a key Blair ally has nothing to do with rumoured ambitions of Rebekah's husband Ross Wade (Ross Kemp as was) to become a Labour MP; let alone to personal loyalty to the Blairs, whose Chequers weekend guests the Wades so often are. Nor is it some kind of payback for Blunkett's past eagerness to co-ordinate his attacks on asylum-seekers with The Sun. As for the notion that Blunkett has ingratiated himself with Rupert Murdoch, this would suggest that Ms Wade is little more than her proprietor's best-paid public-relations operative. Quite ridiculous. Just for once, can we not abandon the sneering, and celebrate a truly principled editor? Is that so much to ask? So, sail on Titian hair, sail on by, your time will come to shine.

* Like Rebekah Wade, the Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre has been a regular dinner companion of Blunkett for years, yet he has been among those leading the way in breaking the story. Paul, and we of the bleeding-heart- liberal media, seldom see eye to eye, but sometimes there's nothing for it but to observe that the Mail is the most lethal media weapon in the war against ministerial misdemeanours. And now, having rinsed the mouth out with Imperial Leather, commiserations to Paul's elder son James, who has failed in a bid to succeed the ex-BBC chairman Christopher Bland's boy Archie (such fearsome dynasties we see before us...) to become editor of Varsity, the Cambridge University magazine. Chin up, son, your time will also come.

* Among the more startling interventions into the Blunkett affair was the one from John Sergeant, the matinée idol of ITN until his recent retirement. On Question Time last week, John declared that he has met Mrs Quinn twice, "and I have to say, I thought she was trouble". Emboldened by the gasp from the audience, he reprised this observation soon after. You can only wonder what glories John might have achieved if only he weren't so riven by self-doubt.

* Chipping in his twopenn'orth on the issue, meanwhile, is my so-called rival Stephen Glover. He begins his Spectator media column by revealing a deliberate decision not to talk to either Mrs Quinn, the magazine's publisher; Mr Blunkett; or their representatives. Knowing Stephen's passionate commitment is to the drudgery of research - he makes The New Yorker's most obsessive fact-checker look dilettante - such self-restraint must have come at a terrible price.

* The genteel image of publishing suffers a grievous blow as rival houses sprint to bring out biographies on the same obscure figure. Having spent five years working on The Wit in the Dungeon, his life of the poet/journalist Leigh Hunt - a friend of Keats, Byron and Shelley, and later of Dickens - and with the book due out next spring, Anthony Holden was surprised to find Random House cheekily advancing the publication date of the Romantic scholar Nicholas Roe's Fiery Heart: The First Life of Leigh Hunt to 20 January. Rushing out an academic biography is quite a novelty, and Ursula Mackenzie at Little, Brown isn't having it. In a tough, no-nonsense counterstrike, she has brought forward the publication date of Holden's opus to that same 20 January. Meanwhile, the Canadian scholar Michael Sinatra is doing it his way, with Routledge due to publish his Hunt biography in September. Isn't that always the way, though? You wait 150 years for a biography of Leigh Hunt, and then three of them come along at once.

* Undaunted by the Galloway defeat, The Daily Telegraph takes another lurch upmarket. The cover of The Telegraph View, a mini-mag showcasing highlights from "Britain's bestselling quality newspaper", is devoted to Eva Herzigova ("Hello Again, Boys") leaning on what looks like a giant snowball in a red bra-and-pants combo. Next month's cover girl will be Jordan, who will be talking to W F Deedes about landmines, the volatility of Ukrainian politics, and Peter Andre's opposition to the fox-hunting ban.

* Back, finally, to Blunkers, and the vexing question of privacy. Following the PM's insistence that ministers are entitled to a private life, however messy, we anticipate Alastair Campbell drumming the point home in The Times. If Ali cares to explain, on Mr Blair's behalf, how this philosophy ties in with his phone call to Robin Cook, allowing him the time it took to reach the Heathrow check-in to choose between his marriage and his job, so much the better for us all.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Travel
travelWhy Japan's love hotels are thriving through an economic downturn
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
Alexander McQueen A/W 2014
fashionPolitics aside, tartan is on-trend again this season
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Sport
Joel jumps over the board...and into a giant hole
footballFrom joy to despair in a matter of seconds
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

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.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Marketing - London

£60000 - £85000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Interim Head of Marketing / Marketin...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Digital Project Manager

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Digital Project Manager is needed to join an exciti...

Paid Search Analyst / PPC Analyst

£24 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Paid Search Analyst / PPC...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week