Diary: Downing Street's in a tails spin

Well, what a right old pig's ear that was! One minute we were being told by Number 10 that Dave (PM) would be sticking two fingers up to all those silly old snobs insisting he had to wear traditional tails on the day of the royal wedding – the next we hear he'll be donning his Bullingdon best after all. Just as Tory heartlands everywhere were struggling to come to terms with the prospect of their leader embarrassing the nation in such a shoddy fashion, flustered Downing Street lackeys were suddenly spinning a different yarn altogether, insisting the Prime Minister had in fact always intended to embrace his fate on 29 April. Someone, we were pointedly told, had jumped the gun by unofficially suggesting otherwise – someone who hadn't even bothered to check with his boss before opening his big fat stupid mouth!

Having had a difficult start as Dave's new communications chief, surely it would be all too easy to lay the blame at former BBC man Craig Oliver's door? "Let's just say this wouldn't have happened under Andy Coulson," came the admirably restrained reply.

* While I met one surprisingly chirpy Liberal Democrat the other day who assured me he was "more optimistic than you might think" about the forthcoming local elections, it's only fair to add that the man in question was drunk. Indeed, the sight of Lib Dem councillors being guillotined to the cheers of bloodthirsty mobs up and down the land come 5 May is likely to make messy viewing. While no Scarlet Pimpernel, whispers mount that their leader already has a minor rescue plan in place for at least some who have remained loyal to the Cleggover cause. Currently facing an uphill battle to prevent Nick's Sheffield HQ from being toppled by invaders, those "in the know" suggest that the city's Lib Dem leader, Paul Scriven, can at least look forward to a Clegg-endorsed peerage, should he be forced to flee with the family cutlery. Another ill-fated figure said to be in the running for a new life in the Lords is Elwyn Watkins, who failed to see off Labour in the recent Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election, after his previous defeat at the hands of the former minister Phil Woolas was overturned by the courts.

* Despite once being enthusiastically hailed as "Westminster's answer to Burton and Taylor" by someone who was clearly confused, the private life of Labour's showbiz couple Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper has largely remained under wraps. Perhaps now keener than ever to prove to those uncharitable critics that she isn't merely a short-tempered bossy boots with the kind of socially awkward husband you traditionally try to avoid at barbecues, the Yvette charm offensive now goes into overdrive. Speaking to the New Statesman, Cooper touchingly takes us back to the days of a star-struck girl in pigtails in the mid-Seventies, eagerly watching the Eurovision Song Contest. "I was seven when Brotherhood of Man won," she recalls, all misty-eyed. "So I took it really seriously and I knew all the routine and I could do crossover arms and everything." (Cooper, we're informed, then duly "kicks her heels and swings her arms to prove it"). Rumour has it a white-suited Balls even serenaded her with the band's hit, Save Your Kisses For Me, on the night he proposed.

* The surprising furore surrounding whether or not Ringo Starr's birthplace is about to be demolished has become increasingly complicated to follow in recent days. No sooner do we hear that the Government is stepping in to save 9 Madryn Street, than angry fellow Scousers declare it's being pulled down come what may because a) it's an eyesore of little historic importance; and b) the man in question, long a suntanned resident of Los Angeles, has already made it clear he couldn't give two monkeys what happens to the place.

* Reports that recently installed national treasure Robbie Savage is considering extending his football career by one final year shouldn't mean his blossoming role as a pundit is interrupted for long. The former Welsh international's regular pearls of wisdom on Five Live have already led to him being nominated for a prestigious Sony Radio Academy Award next month – which shows just how far the industry has moved on. Only jealous colleagues at the BBC, who, I venture, aren't up for a gong in May, suggest Savage was hired because "lots of football fans listening in are a bit thick".


Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Recruitment Genius: Project Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This privately-owned company designs and manuf...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources Officer

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen at th...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - London - £40,000 + Bonus

£36000 - £40000 per annum + Bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own