Diary: Best man decision giving Ed trouble and strife

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The Independent Online

Even as the national heart swells with anticipatory joy over an imminent royal wedding, it quakes with fear at the distant approach of another. How in God's name will Labour's ruling house of Miliband resolve the best man conundrum when Ed succumbs to tabloid pressure to make an honest woman of Justine?

The Mail on Sunday claims Ed cannot decide whether to ask David through fear of being snubbed. But the more relevant question is whether David could bring himself to attend at all. Under no circumstances could he be best man, as Ed was for him, for two compelling reasons. First – this one's a bit arcane, but try to follow as best you can – they really aren't terribly keen on each other. Second, one of the best man's duties being to tease the groom about his middle name, David would have to reveal that Ed's is Enoidal (for God's sake, man, get some surgery for that deviated septum; I can vouch personally for the submucosal resection) and we can't be having that.

So here, for fretful Labour royalists, is a soothing prediction. Ed and Justine will marry this summer, secretly and abroad. It might be on a Bali beach, in the peach wedding chapel at Las Vegas's Treasure Island, or even on the defunct space station, Mir. But so horrendous are the public relations implications of the Brother, Where Art Thou? wedding that there is more chance of Ed and Justine getting hitched in Tripoli's presidential palace, with Saif as best man and the Colonel leading revellers in a spirited "Hava Nagila", than here.

* I love Evan Davis as much as the next chap with a fancy for penis-bejewelled Today presenters, but he mislaid his historical perspective on Saturday in asking whether the Japanese Red Cross has ever dealt with a disaster of this scale. Without wishing to play the casualties numbers game, it must have been busier, in a couple of cities, in August 1945.

This is not to underplay the disaster. That we may safely leave to News of the World editor Colin Myler who did carve some front-page space for Japan (a small box in the bottom-left corner). Whether new evidence of Prince Andrew's naughtiness made a worthier splash than Japan, who can say for sure? News judgement is such a subjective thing.

* Fresh allegations that NotW executives hired hackers to remove information from targets' computers by way of Trojan Horse viruses are almost as ridiculous as the notion the paper bribed coppers and hospital employees for information; or the underwear model and Labour MP Chris Bryant was "warned off" his close interest in News International's personal affairs with vague blackmail threats modelled on Lear's ("What they are, yet I know not; but they shall be the terrors of the earth"). Will this fanciful speculation never cease?

* Better news for Rupert Murdoch paranoiacs came yesterday from Jeremy *unt, our secretary of state of Hulture, Media and Sport. Jeremy told the pliable Andrew Marr – he begins to make David Frost look like Torquemada's nastier brother Farqurmada – why his decision to permit the BSkyB deal will in fact curtail Mr Murdoch's political influence. Here I feel like Mam in the Alan Bennett monologue A Chip In The Sugar after one of Graham's lectures about the evils of racism. I understood it all when he explained it, but five minutes later...

* What it feels indelicate to call the fallout from the NOTW hacking scandal appears to be intensifying. Tina Brown's Daily Beast addresses the scandal, insisting that the "media glare" is shifting to News International CEO Rebekah Brooks. The piece is too spiteful for my taste, needlessly dwelling on the domestic incident that led then husband Ross Kemp to summon the law to their Battersea home and have her escorted off to the cells for a reinvigorating nap.

Poor show.