Matthew Norman's Media Diary

The mystery migrant scaremongers

Knowing the importance of varying the tone, how refreshing to find the Daily Mail in a fearful strop last week. This time it was the Association of Chief Police Officers report about the absence of an anticipated migrant-inspired crimewave that got the Mail's goat. "Even if accurate," ran one umbraged article about the liberal media's naïve reaction to the ACPO findings, "the coverage would have begged several questions, not least who had claimed there was a migrant crimewave in the first place."

Brilliant point. Who'd ever have scaremongered about such a thing? "You searched for 'migrant crimewave'," flashed up a search box message. "We have found about 24,140 articles on the Mail online." Aha. Let's sample just a few, in reverse chronological order. "7 February 2008: Jacqui Smith has called all 43 chief constables to an urgent summit on crime involving immigrants, it has emerged." "27 January 2008: Britain's highest-ranking black policeman has warned the Home Secretary his force is struggling to cope with an immigrant crimewave." ("For more stories like this," says the accompanying strapline, "buy the Daily Mail every day"). "19 November 2007: "A wave of crime and illegal immigration will sweep across Europe when nine more EU states scrap their border controls next month, it has been claimed."

And on, and on. Will we ever penetrate the mystery of who made such outlandish claims about the migrant crimewave? I don't believe we will.

A Rare foray into 5 Live's breakfast show on Friday instantly discovers Nicky Campbell on top of his game. "Right, here's how democracy works," Nicky tartly began on a lengthy rebuke at the start of a lively chat with a Zanu- PF spokesman. "Is that a question or a statement?," replied the Mugabe man, and although this silenced the little chap, it wasn't for long. "The whole world is laughing at you," Nicky bounced back... "And when they're not laughing, they're weeping." Not to all tastes, certainly, but those who like political interviews conducted after the fashion of a wildly precocious sixth-former giving us barely coiled rage, in the style of Christopher Ecclestone – loved every moment. Well done, Nicky!

Sensational news from the outskirts of London's skinny-latte-sipping Islington brings on a violent fit of the vapours. Marcus Rose, from the Shaw Theatre box office, rings to announce that this coming Sunday's Q&A show with favourite columnist Jon Gaunt – to which I was going to lead an elite corps of fellow fans – has been cancelled at the shortest of notice on the bemusing grounds of a "recording commitment". This is strange. What could he possibly be recording on a Sunday night? A new date is set for 30 September, but don't you fret, Gaunty boy, we'll catch up with you long before then, and this time without prior warning on this page.

As for Gaunty's email spat with The Guardian's Marina Hyde, over an appearance in her column, we'll have to return to this next week. All I can say for now is that Gaunty's notion of a relaxing holiday in Tenerife seems to revolve around googling himself on the beach.

Such touching appreciations of the Pope's American visit in The Times. US editor Gerard Baker was all but overwhelmed, while as for religion correspondent Ruth Gledhill, that gifted ballroom dancer and cousin of the late Basil Rathbone, she all but threw her metaphorical knickers at the Pontiff. "Benedict lacks the showmanship of John Paul II," gushed Ruth, "yet a phenomenal intelligence glows from his features like the more nuanced charisma he undoubtedly possesses. Beneath the Pope's immaculate white attire, elegantly coiffed hair..." Marvellous stuff, and no doubt a particular joy to Rupert Murdoch, that devout Roman Catholic and richly deserving recipient of a papal knighthood in 1998 ("a man of unblemished character," said the citation) shortly before he gave $10 million to a new cathedral in LA. And shortly before he underscored his rigid adherence to the teachings of Rome by divorcing Anna in favour of lovely young Wendy Deng.

Elsewhere in the Thunderer, Carol Midgley is tickled by the Nuneaton wildlife sanctuary parrot which, having greeted the local mayoress with a cheery "fuck off", turned to a pair of coppers and a vicar to add: "You can fuck off too, wankers." It's a cracking piece, albeit every swear word quoted in a piece celebrating the free use of swear words is astericised, while Carol's list of favourite British swearers omits perhaps the most inspired of all. A young actress playing Eliza to Sir Rex Harrison's Professor Higgins once asked him whether her parents, both huge fans, might pop their heads around his dressing room door to say hello. "Now what on earth d'ya imagine I'd be wanting," replied that gentle parfit knight, "with your cunting parents?"

Hats aloft, finally, to the editor of BBC1's Question Time for a panel boasting not only Lembit Opik but also Simon Heffer, whose booking must have been timed to mark the 40th anniversary of his hero Enoch Powell's keynote address. A word of caution, though. We all understand the pressure to chase ratings. Of course we do. But a flagship current affairs discussion show cannot be a beauty pageant every week.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Legal Recruitment Consultant

Highly Competitive Salary + Commission: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL BASED - DEALING ...

Digital Project Manager / Web Project Manager

£45-50k (DOE) + Bonus & Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced ...

Account Manager

£30 - 35k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Account Manager to join ...

Social Advertising Manager / Social Media Manager

£Excellent + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Social Advertising Manager / Social Med...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve