Matthew Norman's Media Diary

Alas, poor Kelvin, we feel your pain

So alarmingly do fears for Kelvin MacKenzie's well-being intensify that some form of intervention must be imminent. It isn't that Kelvin's latest Sun column lacks startling originality. With lightning raids into such virgin territory as tax-avoiding Gypsies, hyper-fecund underclass scroungers and the ghastliness of Heather Mills, he shocks and amazes all over his page. What is distressing is the increasing evidence of dramatic memory loss (you may recall the posited connection between the heavy snoring to which he's a martyr and early-onset Alzheimer's).

For example, the old boy observes in one paragraph that he has considerable doubts that he wants his country led by posh boys like David Cameron and George Osborne, adding in the very next that a growing Tory poll lead "will cheer me up no end". This isn't good. Nor is the befuddled railing against the anonymity granted to criminal defendants aged under 18. "Why shouldn't this scumbag be named and shamed?" he asks, somehow failing to remember that under British law it is for a jury to decide – as Lord Denning put it in R vs The Scum of the Earth – "who is, and indeed who is not, a scumbag".

Worse still, is the unending befuddlement over Hillsborough. Kelvin seems no closer to resolving the fierce internal battle over whether or not he regrets blaming Liverpool fans for the tragedy. Where once he sincerely apologised to a Commons select committee for modern journalism's most calamitous misjudgement, now he openly taunts Liverpool fans by reporting playing golf with former midfielder Ray Houghton, adding a glibly ironic, "I'm sorry about that Anfield."

It isn't for me to declare anyone mentally incapacitated, after the fashion of Kelvin's diagnosis of Tony Benn. Even so, this reads much less like a column than a cry for help. Who will answer it?

* NO SUCH worries enshroud his colleague Jon Gaunt. "I don't care what those who don't love our country say," writes my favourite columnist, "there is no nation in the world that does pomp and circumstance better than us." Well said, Gaunty. We'll leave it to those who hate Britain and such ancient traditions as the presumption of innocence to peddle their filthy treachery. "Didn't it make you proud to watch the state visit of the French President? This truly is a great country." He gets better and better by the week.

* IN ANY list of broadcasting's greatest giggling fits, Charlotte Green's effort on Friday's Today programme will rank alongside that US local station weather guy interrupted by Borat and, of course, Johnners and Aggers losing control over Ian Botham's failure to get his leg over the stumps. The newsreader went to pieces after being told that the first-ever sound recording sounded like a buzzing bee (and buzzing bees are hilarious; all Big Hearted Arthur Askey fans know that), and if it was unfortunate timing that she started going just as she was intoning the words Judgment at Nuremberg, you'd have to be dementedly pious to fixate on that. Charlotte is a gleaming adornment to the nation, and we salute her. Hats off also to Jim Naughtie for introducing the following item, about the hideous violence in Basra, without succumbing to anything more than a faint catch in his voice. A true pro.

* A MERE 31 days to go until polling day, and still not the faintest sign of Boris Johnson's mayoral campaign self-destructing. Boris is now a hot 4-9 favourite, and shortening all the time. Could it be that, despite his luminous unsuitedness to the job and the sacrifice of some £500,000 in annual income, he actually wants to win? God have mercy, it just could.

* WITH THE dog days of George W Bush upon us, a challenger to his position as the planet's most grammatically inept leader emerges. It is Nicolas Sarkozy, who according to a caption in early editions of Friday's Daily Mail refers to his wife, Carla, as "Ma chérie". If only Johnny Hallyday, and not Stevie Wonder, had recorded that song.

* I AM thrilled, finally, to introduce the new regular feature Most Credible Anti-Cameron Daily Mirror Story of the Week. The inaugural winner is Bob Roberts for the "exclusive" beginning: "A row erupted last night after Labour accused Samantha Cameron of snubbing a charity trying to stop mothers dying in childbirth." And what a spectacular volcano of controversy it proved. Who knows when the lava will finally settle, but none of us will forget where we were when we first heard it erupt.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

Ashdown Group: Web Developer - London - £40K plus benefits - Salary negotiable

£38000 - £40000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: A leading consu...

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

£12 - £15 Hourly Rate: Sheridan Maine: Are you an experienced Accounts Assista...

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Payable Clerk

£21,000 - £24,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a new opportunit...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat