" Returning Stuart Broad hoping to add muscle to England's attack," stated one enthusiastic headline in The Guardian this week.
Having gone on to read about our Ashes hero's hopes for the coming months, some suspicious types smelt a rat when readers were earnestly informed at the end of the same article that Broad uses: " Maximuscle, Europe's leading sports nutrition brand to maximise his sporting performance."
Among those who wasted little time stirring things up was Financial Times media correspondent Ben Fenton, who mischievously posted on Twitter: "I wonder how many people reading that saw no link at all between the subject matter and the 'sponsor'?" Sensing a kerfuffle, The Guardian rolled out a big gun in an attempt to hastily put the troublesome Fenton in his place. Sports editor Ian Prior snapped back: "Well there wasn't any and we would never run an interview on such terms. Would have been the same piece had the sponsor been Slimfast." But surely under the headline "Slimmer Stuart Broad"?
* Having seen his Brokeback Mountain jibe at the expense of David Cameron and Nick Clegg command excitable levels of attention in recent days, colleagues of David Davis helpfully remind me of the careless old bruiser's own doomed political romance from yesteryear.
Half a decade ago, when "DD" was still touted as the Tories' leader-in-waiting, he enjoyed the enthusiastic support of Shadow Cabinet colleague Alan Duncan, publicly the party's most high-profile gay man. Yet, as one bloke observed a few years back, "the course of true love never did run smooth". Lo and behold, just when it seemed David and Alan were an item for the long-term, the latter's head was suddenly turned by a dashing upstart from Oxfordshire strutting about the place telling anyone who cared to listen that it was he – not that clod Davis! – who was the "future" of the Conservative Party. For Alan I'm afraid the temptation simply proved too great – he duly jumped to the Good Ship Cameron leaving his unforgiving former squeeze full of predictable remorse. Apologies readers, I still get emotional retelling this.
* What with that pesky upstart of a little brother trying to derail his Labour leadership bid, I don't doubt these are challenging times for David Miliband.
Yet can the party faithful really trust this former Foreign Secretary of theirs to tell the truth when push comes to shove? During an appearance on London radio station LBC, the politician was asked to name the film which best summed up his relationship with sibling Ed. "Let's hope it's not Two Brothers Into The Sunset," he oh-so-confidently replied.
One snag Mr Miliband - such a film doesn't even flamin' exist! I await an explanation with interest - but fear the damage is done.
* Former Labour parliamentary candidate Manish Sood enjoyed his moment in the spotlight when, before the election, he helpfully suggested Gordon Brown was the "worst Prime Minister in history". Sood, who subsequently lost in North West Norfolk – (loyal Brownites there) – has now commenced legal proceedings against the party in a bid to secure "£100,000" compensation following his suspension. Westminster's loss is the lawyers' gain.
* One minute I'm jovially referring to Gillian Anderson's fans as "stalkers" – the next, all hell breaks loose. Following yesterday's thoroughly researched tale, one reader writes: "I would expect such low-brow "journalism" from papers such as The Sun or The Mirror but not an esteemed publication such as The Independent." She adds: "The fact is that rather than pimply sci-fi geeks with limited social skills, many of Ms Andersons' fans are bright, motivated young women who have been inspired not only by her talent and the strong characters she has played, but also by her extreme generosity and charitable nature." As for my now fading hopes of a signed photo, another correspondent – and I stress, not a stalker – angrily tells me: "If you want a signed photo, just make sure you are outside a theatre next time she performs at one." Might not risk it.Reuse content