Diary: Call for decorum in handing out parking fines
Jacob Rees-Mogg, that priceless guardian of liberty, has come up with a cracking idea to improve the manners of council officials empowered to issue on-the-spot fines – make them wear bowler hats.
The Conservative MP for North East Somerset, who is never seen in Parliament other than in a pin-stripe double-breasted suit, is shocked that respectable motorists should be handed parking fines by people who are improperly turned out. "What we currently have are some desperately scruffy tatterdemalions who wander around as accredited persons," he told a Commons debate on local government.
"They look as though they have been dragged through a hedge backwards. Their uniforms are a norky thing, not the sort of thing as an officer of the Crown would ever be seen wearing – the sort of thing that could be worn by anybody. I wonder whether they might wear bowler hats, for instance, so that it would be clear that they were from the council – proper, thoroughgoing bureaucrats." He believes we should not be compelled give our names just because someone officious asks who we are. He cited two cases of people refusing to identify themselves – Oedipus, who told Polyphemus, the cyclops, that his name was "Nobody" and Bertie Wooster, who used a false name when he was up before the beak for pinching a policemen's helmet.
Neither of these heroes was real. No surprise there. What is truly bewildering is that Mr Rees-Mogg exists.
Mostly men left in Miliband's office
All change in Ed Miliband's private office. His special adviser, Polly Billington, has been selected as Labour candidate for Thurrock, where the incumbent Tory MP, Jackie Doyle-Price, has a majority of just 92. His chief of staff, Lucy Powell, missed becoming an MP in 2010 by a narrow margin and is expected to try again. His press spokeswoman Ayesha Hazarika is returning to work for her old boss, Harriet Harman. At least the men who work for him are sticking around.
Padiham misses out on dubious honour
Padiham, a little town west of Burnley, has been spared the dubious distinction of becoming the first community in Britain with a BNP mayor. Until a few days ago, the town's Deputy Mayor, who was due to become mayor next year, was BNP member Bob Cave. The mayoress would have been his wife, Sharon Wilkinson, the only BNP councillor left on Burnley Borough council since the May elections.
Councillors in Padiham do not sit in organised political groups and are expected to leave their party affiliations behind, but Mr Cave's involvement with the BNP is well-known enough for two of his daughters by a different marriage to say in April that they were changing their names because they were so ashamed of being associated with him.
Despite that, Mr Cave took great exception to the three Labour Party members on the Town Council and sought to have them removed. He failed, and this week he resigned, sparing Padiham what would have been some unwelcome publicity.
Far-right leader's empty promise
The appointment of the French-speaking Elio di Rupo as Prime Minister of Belgium, after 18 months without a government, looks to be a disappointment to all those had hopes that they would see the last of Filip Dewinter. He is a leader of the far-right Vlaams Belang party, linked to the UK Independence Party, which is seeking independence for Belgium's Flemish speakers.
Ahead of the vote, Mr Dewinter tweeted: "Di Rupo premier! No Way! I would then move to Namibia...." A Facebook group devoted to getting him to keep his promise has gained 50,000 followers – none of whom, so far as we know is Namibian But Mr Dewinter says he is going to stay.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...
£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...