So the Prime Minister has launched a tourism campaign under the brand "GREAT Britain", featuring a series of images publicising aspects of British life such as sport, heritage and the countryside. And this just weeks since he told us we were a "broken society". What struck me as more strange, however, is that he should have approved for inclusion a poster featuring his rival, Ed Miliband.
* Remember all the hilarious jokes in Nick Clegg's conference speech? Nope, nor do I. But there probably were some, and they would have been the work of Clegg's brave head of communications, James Sorene. Interviewed in PRWeek, Sorene reveals that among the items on his CV is a short spell as a stand-up comedian. "I was entered into the Jewish Comedian of the Year," he explains, "judged by Maureen Lipman and Paul Kaye."
Sorene decided not to pursue a comedy career, but Clegg was intrigued when he interviewed him for his job. "He asked if I was funny. I said I wasn't bad. Still, if I ever decide to leave the Civil Service, I guess it's an option." Lib Dems seem to gravitate towards an open mic: glamour model-botherer Lembit Opik enjoyed a short stint as a failed comic before his short stint as a failed mayoral candidate, and this week Education minister Sarah Teather was the talk of the conference after her own ill-judged stand-up routine. For Sorene's sake, I hope that wasn't his idea.
* Andrew Roberts never misses a chance to compliment a fellow right-winger. This week, he manages five in a single paragraph. Writing in The Spectator, the historian explains that he was at New York's Waldorf-Astoria "to interview Dick Cheney for his excellent autobiography... Like so many people demonised by the Left – Ken Starr, Norman Tebbit, James Murdoch, Paul Wolfowitz also come to mind – Cheney is charming, good-natured and great company, with a fine sense of humour."
I'm sure there are plenty of historical villains who'd make excellent dinner-party guests, but instead of listing them, this column prefers to recall Roberts's encounter with another of his heroes. In February, he informed Tatler readers that he'd been in Dallas "to chat to George W Bush about his superb memoirs... As we were photographed together afterwards and he put his arm around my waist, I, ever-respectful of the office of the ex-president, put my arm around his. While any normal 64-year-old would be forgiven for having a bit of extra flesh, he just had the lean muscles of a fit man 20 years his junior. I complimented him on it, and he said: 'Well, Andrew, that's what happens when you quit drinking and take exercise.'" Oh, get a room.
* The PM has a "big" fan in fun-sized French President Nicolas Sarkozy, quoted in Le Canard enchaîné as telling officials that his war buddy is "a stand-up guy. I adore David Cameron. We may never be in agreement over Europe, but we're totally agreed on everything else in the rest of the world!"
It's hard to say whether the French leader's endorsement is a good omen or not. Sarkozy was famously friendly with Gordon Brown, too: he passed Brown his phone during European Council meetings, so the ex-PM could put in a good word with Carla Bruni when the couple were first courting. Sarkozy called Brown "one of the very best" of finance ministers. And Brown once described Sarkozy as "one of my best friends". Are they still in touch?
* Made in Chelsea may be back, but the SW3 natives are restless. "They totally cut a really good scene," Fredrik [sic] told me at the launch of the BlackBerry BBM Music Service. "It was this skating scene with me and Francis. They didn't use any of it... It was a bit annoying, but what can you do?" Footage of Fredrik with his girlfriend, Alex, was also consigned to the cutting-room floor. "Our relationship is very loving so it's not featured much," he said. "They prefer drama." Awkward!
* Meanwhile, E4's latest creation is coming soon. The channel's new dating show will ask contestants to travel up through a building in a lift, meeting one potential suitor per floor. Said suitors will perform "ice-breaker" tasks in the brief moments they have to impress between stops. I assume it was commissioned for its title: Love Shaft.Reuse content