Diary: Beckhams bare all

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The Independent Online

How do you respond to scurrilous rumours about your marriage being published on the cover of a magazine? If your surname is Beckham, you go right ahead and appear on the cover of another magazine, declaring just how darn wonderful your relationship is. Following those preposterous claims of Beckham (D)'s infidelity by prostitute Irma Nici to In Touch magazine (weekly circulation approximately 1,271,354), Beckham (V) has been photographed for the US cover of Marie Claire (monthly circulation 985,053). The images accompany an interview in which Beckham (V) describes her husband as "Goddam perfect". The pair, she insists, are soulmates. "The other day... I was getting out of the shower," she recalls, painting a vivid picture of the scene. "He's sitting there sending his emails [in the altogether], all ripped. Not an ounce of fat on him. And I thought, 'you done good, girl'. I sure wasn't thinking of his high-pitched voice." Still, good to know she'll admit that he talks a bit funny. A minor flaw for the rest of us to cling to.

* Sky News anchor Kay "Hurly" Burley is famed for her charming interview technique. Granted an audience with the girlfriend of the "Suffolk Strangler", to give just one example, she asked whether their inadequate sex life might have driven him to kill five young women. On Wednesday, Ms Burley, 49, added to her portfolio of tête-à-tête classics by ruthlessly patronising a (thoroughly compos mentis) 96-year-old man: Harry Beckhough, star of David Cameron's conference speech, whose name it took her three attempts to pronounce correctly. "I wonder what it's like being interviewed on live telly," she asked, like a mum making chit-chat on the school run. "You ever had that happen to you before?" (He had, many times.) This after she'd asked if he fought for "the Stafford Cripps", apparently mistaking a Labour chancellor for an army regiment. "I didn't fight for him, I fought against him," Beckhough corrected her, impatiently. Chris Bryant MP recently described Ms Burley as "a bit dim" and, in light of her oeuvre, maybe it's too much to expect from her a thorough knowledge of mid-century British politics.

* Still, old Harry did turn out to be a queerer cove than his friends at CCHQ had perhaps been led to expect. During his interview, he praised Churchill and Thatcher, but expressed contempt for the man who "sold us out as a country... his name was Mr Major". Beckhough's previous pronouncements include the ludicrous assertion that Tory PM Ted Heath, and Churchill biographer Roy Jenkins, were Nazi spies during the war. A niche belief to which, I can only presume, he attributes the pair's Europhilic tendencies: Beckhough's book Germany's Four Reichs expounds the theory that the EU is, in fact, Germany's latest "evil" bid for world domination.

* Harry might get on better with Ms Burley's boss, one Rupert Murdoch, just 17 years his junior. Yesterday, it was announced that Murdoch would deliver the inaugural Margaret Thatcher Lecture hosted by the Centre for Policy Studies, in London on 21 October. The address (Murdoch's first major speaking engagement in the UK since 1989) will reflect on the Iron's Lady's enduring legacy. I imagine he'll mention, then, how that legacy includes one man's near-monopoly of the satellite TV market, 40 per cent of the national newspaper market, and access to Number 10 via the back door.

* Murdoch's pal Mr Cameron must regret accepting President Obama's challenge of a golf game, a rash decision taken in the heat of Ryder Cup victory. William Hill's numbers men don't give him much chance against the Prez, who's said to have played more than 40 rounds since taking office. "Obama is by far the stronger player," one tells me. "Our odds make him 1/6 favourite, with Cameron offered at 7/2." When he played a rare round in Cornwall in August, Cameron flouted the dress code in jeans. Yet at least one course close to the PM's constituency remains keen to stage the contest. Paul Gibbons, owner of the Oxfordshire Golf Club in Thame, says: "We'd be prepared, for one day only, to relax our dress code in order for him to feel comfortable and raise his game to a level that will make the nation proud."

highstreetken@independent.co.uk

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