Diary: Damsel in distress? Here's Lembit
Monday 29 August 2011
What with being the first contestant to be voted out of the Big Brother house, not to mention facing ongoing calls to be burned at the stake by the Daily Mail, it's proved a fraught few days for Speaker's wife Sally Bercow. So, amid these troubled times, what could be more welcome than the sight of her very own knight in shining armour triumphantly emerging over the horizon with the express intention of putting Sally's numerous enemies to the sword? "Pray, who could this valiant warrior be?" I hear you ask. "Why, I think it's our favourite Estonian and glamour model-botherer Lembit 'Lancelot' Opik!" Oh! comes the admittedly deflated reply. Still, it's a bank holiday and Hugh Grant didn't have the decency to return my (numerous) calls. "There's a difference between having depth and being a celebrity," declares Lembit, himself a reality television reject of note. "Sally has something to say. I supported her decision to go on the programme. My advice to Sally would now be to pursue any libel actions." Her weary other Senor Bercow would be wise to keep the impressionable Sally away from this man's mysterious charms.
* Having only recently been obliged publicly to reassure her fans that she did not describe fat people as "Orca-sized oafs" – (but merely unfortunate human beings for whom she has little respect) – England's finest living actress, Joan Collins OBE, has since become engaged in entertaining hostilities with Mail On Sunday scribe Suzanne Moore. Tensions arose when the latter chose to question our Joanie's grasp of current affairs, reminding us that "she's in her seventies, has been serially divorced and is based mainly in St Tropez". Well, Joanie didn't get where she is today by taking this sort of thing lying down, thank you very much! "It's sad when hacks don't keep to their meds," she regally declared on Twitter. "Suzanne Moore today in Mail On Sunday can't quite put a cogent argument together." When word reached Moore that she was officially at war with a national treasure, there was, of course, no holding back. In respectful reference to one of Collins's most acclaimed film roles, she announced: "Joan is quite something! I just don't share her... politics. The Bitch."
* Reports over the weekend that Tory members most want to see right-wing favourite David Davis promoted to the Cabinet at the earliest opportunity are likely to be greeted with a pained smile – and no doubt plenty worse behind closed doors – by our increasingly put-upon Prime Minister. After all, it's little secret that the pair are far from kindred spirits. Having had to come to terms with losing the party leadership contest in 2005, Davis left his boss embarrassed in 2008 when he surprisingly quit his post as Shadow Home Secretary in order to force a by-election in his Haltemprice and Howden constituency. While officially his way of promoting a debate on the erosion of civil liberties, Davis's move was alternatively translated by more cynical party colleagues at the time as: "I can't stand working for this posh pillock a second longer, but let's get some helpful self-publicity in the process." He went on to win a decidedly anticlimactic contest by more than 15,000 votes. For all the enthusiasm in the Tory shires, quite whether the old bruiser is actually suited to this sensitive age of coalition also seems questionable — he memorably caused a stir by comparing the PM's relationship with Nick Clegg to "Brokeback Mountain".
* Labour backbencher Tom Harris's chances of becoming his party's next Scottish leader appear to have been boosted by the apparent reluctance of any high-profile colleagues to step into the fray. Not that there aren't concerns about the amiable Harris's suitability for the post. I'm reminded that the Glasgow South MP's obsession with Doctor Who has long verged on what concerned friends cautiously describe as "unhealthy".
* While competition hots up between Manchester's two leading football clubs, the allegiance of one local MP remains open to question. George (né Gideon) Osborne's nearby Tatton constituency is right in the middle of footballers' wives territory, and our Chancellor appears to be playing a dangerous game. "He's given some people the impression he supports United, then tells others he's a City man," huffs one suspicious resident.
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