Matthew Norman: That contacts book may prove useful, Archie

Diary

Warmest congrats to ITV on finally concluding its thrilling quest for a new chairman. It’s been a blast these recent months, with a seemingly endless succession of giants touted for the job before vanishing from view.

But all good things must come to an end, and there could have been no worthier winner than Archie Norman. Even if his qualifications to succeed Michael Grade remain tantalisingly opaque, the important thing is to make it crystal clear that his appointment has not one iota to do with his political past. Sad to say, some may regard this as a further sign of the media firmament rearranging itself in readiness for a change of government.

Why would ITV want an erstwhile Tory shadow cabinet member with refreshingly non-existent television experience at such a perilous time, these nincompoops will wonder, if not his long friendship with David Cameron, whose mentor he once was at McKinsey’s and whose leadership he has lavishly praised? This naivete is baffling. A major media company would no more hire a man for his political connections than a political party would hire somebody primarily for their media contacts. Andy Coulson will bear me out on this.

This sort of neo-Berlusconian blurring of the politico-media dividing line isn’t how things work over here. No, Archie’s appointment isn’t merely inspired but also a gorgeous piece of symmetry. As chief press officer for Michael Green’s abysmal Carlton, Mr Cameron colluded in the destruction of ITV standards that eventually led the network to the precipice. Now his old chum is going to clean up the mess he helped create.

Charity case

Last week Liz Jones was mostly writing about poverty. Confiding to Daily Mail readers that she is £150,000 in debt, Liz detailed her brutal efforts to avoid a trip to Carey Street.

She is now, so she claims, living on the jobseeker’s allowance of £64.30 a week, and the sacrifices are inspiring. She has, for instance, shaved her own legs for the first time since the Seventies. She has been to Primark. She even, the Lord have mercy, came frighteningly close to catching a bus.

“I hadn’t realised how spoilt I had become,” confesses the bucolic tourist who spent £26,000 on a bat sanctuary at the Somerset home she seems to have abandoned after the botched assassination attempt by livid neighbours that saw gunshot pellet besmirch her letterbox.

This is distressing to read, and if Mail editor Paul Dacre doesn’t double her “hefty salary” forthwith, Bob Geldof and Midge Ure are expected to step in.

No party in Liverpool then

Wouldn’t you have thought that The Sun might make a bit of fuss about its 40th birthday? Every day last week I turned expectantly to the paper in the hope of proper coverage of this anniversary, but apart from the odd understated reference on pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7, 11, 13, 15, 17-23, four-page pull-out in the middle and half the sports section...nada.

Alright, I exaggerate a little. Those with access to the Hubble telescope may have located the odd bit of own trumpet-blowing. “Biggest Names On Earth Salute Sun On Our Big 4-0”, a minuscule strap line declared on Tuesday, above a contribution from planetary titan Freddie Starr. That apart, there can’t have been more than an aggregate 150,000 words on the matter. In fact cerebral new editor Dominic Mohan restricted the self-indulgence so much that, among the reprinted headlines, there was no space for that Hillsborough classic “The Truth”.

A true visionary

As for the man who no longer has a shred of influence on Sun editorial policy (it breaks his noble heart to see how it has forsaken Gordon Brown; but then love sometimes means having to let go), Rupert Murdoch had another lively week.

After the triumphant interview with Sky in Australia in which he agreed with Fox’s Glenn Beck that President Obama is racist, and struggled heroically for the meaning of that wickedly recherché media term “online”, Davros fired his PR man Gary Ginsberg. And then, just to prove that he needs no nurse-maiding, Rupert delivered a carefully nuanced critique of New York governor David Paterson...“a very nice, honest man”, in his opinion, “who’s blind and can’t read Braille and doesn’t really know what’s going on”. Still, it all ended happily enough. The governor later said that all was “fine” because Rupert rang to “apologise like a gentleman”. And gentlemen, as everyone knows, prefer blinds.

Jungle fever

Daily Mirror Exclusive of the Week goes to Mark Jeffries for Thursday’s report, wittily headlined “Kim And ‘Ave A Go”, this concerned leading I’m A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! grotesque Kim Woodburn – a woman you would cross not a road but a galaxy to avoid – being beastly to that lovely Katie Price. How Mark managed to protect this scoop is beyond me when barely 12 million viewers had watched the exchange from which it was transcribed the previous night. What is wrong with the Mirror back bench? It’s an illness.

Time to move on

As for Mark’s most venerable colleague, finally, Paul Routledge was our guide on a Club 88-90 outing to Mother Kelly’s doorstep down memory lane. “Extraordinary,” wrote the Chelsea Pensioner of working class warriors, “President Obama bowing to Emperor Akihito of Japan, the Pearl Harbour foe. Then swapping pleasantries with President Hu of China, America’s enemy in Korea.”

Isn’t it extraordinary though? If things continue to slide on the insanely rushed rapprochement front, how long before Paul has to rebuke his beloved Gordon Brown for shaking hands with Nicolas Sarkozy of Agincourt opponent France, or pecking Angela Merkel on the cheek?

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
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

Savvy Media Ltd: Media Sales executive - Crawley

£25k + commission + benefits: Savvy Media Ltd: Find a job you love and never h...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Printing Trainee / Computer Graphics

£8000 - £13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have an interest in compu...

Recruitment Genius: Content / Copy Writer

£18000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has bec...

Reach Volunteering: Trustee with experience in science communication

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: The Society for Expe...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible