Matthew Norman: It's Aussie rules for Trevor Kavanagh
Thursday 29 April 2010
This may not explode into the defining doorstep issue of the final week, but the strongest argument for a hung parliament and a quick second election is this. If the Tories win well enough to hang around for five years, this could be Trevor Kavanagh's last general election as The Sun's slightly Mephistophelian political sage.
Trevor is creeping towards 70, and the lure of retirement in his beloved Australia must be strong. For now, he remains an energetic cog in the engine of the man he has long served with fearsome loyalty, even by Murdoch apparatchik standards. Monday's piece, building on the Daily Mail's "Nazi Clegg" delicacy, was a polemical joy.
After a stirring assault on the French, whose stylishness Mr Clegg compared favourably to our own, Trevor touched with wonted lightness on the latter's foreign blood and questionable loyalty to his country of birth. "The former MEP may be British born," he mused, "but he seems more like a double agent – a pure-bred European aristocrat working for the other side."
Well said, sir. And yet, you wonder whether by subliminally implanting the fear that Mr Clegg might be an enemy of the Crown, he betrays a latent sense of guilt.
In 1999, Mr Murdoch sent Trevor – who still has the Aussie passport (which is more than Rupert) he applied for as a youngster – down under on a futile mission to win the monarchy referendum. Trevor Kavanagh may be British born, but this dual-nationality bet hedging raises as many questions about his commitment to Britain.
Is he a fifth columnist for the progressive centre-left, churning out comically overblown polemics to ridicule the Little Englander world view of a master who prefers to control Britain from an apartment in SoHo Village? I think we should be told.
What we have been told, or at least given a hint, is that Trevor is a secret Lib Dem supporter. "The tragedy is that the Noughties gave Labour the money and power to do one or two really great things of permanent benefit to this nation," he wrote on New Year's Day. "They could have virtually abolished welfare by making all earnings below £10,000 tax-free ..." There's only one party promising to do that, Aussie T. Isn't a vaguely pro-European stance, however distasteful to the average docker, a price worth paying for the virtual abolition of welfare?
If you missed Monday's Newsnight, YouTube it for the catchily spelt Plaid Cymru economics spokesman Eurfyl ap Gwilym, by light years the most formidable political talent of this election. If you never imagined seeing our beloved Paxo on the wrong end of a eurfyl ("You haven't done your homework!"), take a peep.
And so to the special election feature named after David Cameron's too many Tweets equation. Twat of the Week is David Miliband, whose random reflections from the campaign trail on Twitter included this yesterday: "Phone canvassing for Gordon Banks in Ochil. He's amazingly well known for all his work." David isn't old enough to remember, but to codgers like me he is in fact amazingly well known for the "salmon save" that defied Pele in 1970. Whether this precedent of a one-eyed Gordon B (the footballer is almost as well known for losing the other in a car crash) going into Labour politics will ever catch on, who can predict? But I can't see it meself. Unlucky runner-up is Alastair Campbell, whose Twitter efforts plough the same furrow of unintended hilarity as his blog, but with a blessed injection of pith. Ali's efforts on Saturday morning, when he launched an armada of increasingly excitable teases about the identity of the game-changing mystery hyperstar that Gordon Brown was about to meet, were either viciously satirical or a cry for help. For 73 minutes I thought it had to be Nelson Mandela. When the Elvis impersonator was unveiled, what could you do but light a candle and offer up a prayer?
'Daily Mail Imbecile Headline Question of the Week' goes to Joan Collins, such an important thinker on the right in the Spectator for years, but taking a moment away from her role as the Keith Joseph of shoulder pads to address a media issue in Monday's Mail. "Why is our TV so vulgar and boring?" asked the headline. Because it doesn't show reruns of art house classics like The Bitch and The Stud often enough, Joanie. Now pipe down.
He doesn't ring, he doesn't write ... What's happened to James Murdoch since he was kind enough to pop in last week? Wherever you are, James, thanks again for all the free publicity. In lieu of the freelance creative's standard fee, we've bought you a six-week summer course in anger management at the University of Naomi Campbell in Wisconsin. Until then, be a good lad and try to keep out of trouble.
Congrats, finally, to James' Sky News on yesterday's scoop. What it says about us that our Joe the Plumber turns out to be Betty Turpin is one for another day.
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