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
Life and Style
love + sex
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: Junior PHP Web Developer

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Guru Careers: Front End Web Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: Our client help leading creative agencies ...

Christine McCleave: FP&A Analyst

£36,000 - £40,000: Christine McCleave: Are you looking for a new opportunity a...

Guru Careers: Web Developer / Javascript Developer

COMPETITIVE (DOE) + BENEFITS : Guru Careers: A Web Developer / Backend / HTML ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn