Diary: Beyoncé the first? Not quite
In a move destined to feature in a 2012 edition of the Daily Mail alongside complaints about the number of BBC employees dispatched to Glastonbury, Zane Lowe shockingly failed to watch (let alone gush dutifully about) Beyoncé's performance on Sunday evening. Yet more disgraceful, depending on which random selection of unnecessarily irate tweeters one believes, was Jo Whiley's wildly misguided onscreen assertion that Beyoncé was "the first female in a quarter of a century to headline the Pyramid stage". In fact, pedants suggest, Suzanne Vega had the honour in 1989 (that's 22 years ago), followed by Shakespeare's Sister, Sinéad O'Connor and half of The White Stripes. 400 staff and they couldn't send a fact-checker?
* Last week this column carried news of alleged babydaddy's Boris Johnson's plan to woo wealthy donors to his 2012 mayoral election campaign. For the clangingly appropriate sum of £2,012, rich people can join the Mayor's own private members club, "Club 305", which is due to convene for the first time in Kensington next month, when its expected 305 members will doubtless be invited to contribute further to Boris's cause. Let it not be said, however, that access to City Hall is available merely to the champagne-quaffing, canapé-scoffing classes. No; humble, salt-of-the-earth supporters also have the opportunity to mingle with the Mayor. All you have to do, it turns out, is give a meagre £12 to his campaign, and five randomly selected donors will get the chance to meet Boris and "personally share their priorities for London". Democracy in action!
* Tony Blair has selected nine of his favourite books for the new literary magazine We Love This Book. The former Prime Minister's choices include Lord of the Rings, because, "it has its share of wizards who become collaborators [??], good people who fall from grace, and those who are in some sense redeemed". More pertinent, perhaps, is his inclusion of The Prophet: not, I'm afraid, the spiritual self-help book by Kahlil Gibran (though I expect Cherie owns a copy), but Isaac Deutscher's three-volume biography of Leon Trotsky – which, Blair claims, was "the first political book I read and one that got me interested in politics." Strange, then, that neither Deutscher nor Trotsky merit so much as a mention in Blair's own spiritual self-help book, A Journey.
* When I last heard from Crispin Mount – recycling sceptic, scourge of south-western Tories, proud leader of 40 Twitter followers and this column's amateur Cotswolds correspondent – it was with dubious news of CCTV blackouts in Cirencester. Today the doughty Crispin returns to resecure his unpaid position with a scoop, of sorts. The Prime Minister was caught trying to persuade backbenchers to vote against a ban on wild circus animals last week, and Crispin claims to know why. "Last July," he writes, "my lady wife Evadne and I attended a wonderful evening of entertainment from Giffords Circus, when they visited Great Barrington, which is a stone's throw from the PM's constituency. In a small tent the great and the good converge – all of Canary Wharf invades at weekends – to watch horses, ponies, dogs and wild ducklings in a modern troubador experience. We knew something was up that evening when security heavies descended on an empty seat, parting finally to reveal Dave himself, an avid punter." As far as I know, so-called "wild" ducklings are not covered by the aforementioned ban, but I get his point.
* Finally, may I be the first to offer my congratulations to Simon Kelner, editor-in-chief of The Independent and i, who has been named Hirsute Personality of the Year 2011 ("The individual who has done the most to promote a positive image of the hirsute during the year") by the Beard Liberation Front. Mr Kelner, or "Simon", impressed judges as the only long-term beard-sporting editor of a national newspaper, and for "adding gravitas to the national debate with the launch of the i paper". He secured the title, which is bestowed as part of the BLF's annual Beard Week, ahead of topical runners-up Andy Murray and Michael Eavis. Claims that awarding the honour to a newspaper editor is simply a shameless ploy to earn publicity for the BLF are not entirely unfounded.
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Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
In defence of liberal democracy
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