Diary: Flint's friends a fickle bunch

It gives me no pleasure to admit that Labour frontbencher Caroline Flint rather burned bridges when she made a point of not thanking me for highlighting the news she was among the leading contenders for 2011's Rear of the Year award. For those of you who don't keep up with current affairs in the way you should, I reported back in January that Caroline was among the early frontrunners for this year's "prestigious" gong, due to be handed out to the lucky winner at The Dorchester hotel this June. Supporters who had helpfully nominated the Shadow Communities Secretary pointed out at the time that Ms Flint would join an esteemed list including Babs Windsor and Graham Norton, should she emerge victorious. Alas, awards organiser Tony Edwards now informs me: "The nominations for Caroline seemed to peak quite quickly, confirming my suspicion they originated from Commons-based computers. Much the same happened last year with Harriet Harman – basically a flurry of voting activity, then nothing." Fickle, fickle world.

* With poor old William Hague having, as some have more politely put it, "lost his mojo", gossip has inevitably been turning to a potential successor. Admirers of Michael Gove have been quick to suggest that he could be just the man to give those pesky foreigners a firm but fair ticking off in the fraught months ahead. One potential Achilles' heel identified, however, is the longstanding belief around Westminster that the politician is terrified of flying. This dates back to a column he wrote for The Times in 2002, when he talked of his "clammy and shaking hands" and "galloping pulse" during a flight to Nice. Gove emotionally added at the time: "The knowledge that the phobia is so widely shared is a comfort. But it doesn't detract from my recognition that I have allowed physical cowardice to blight my life, burden my wife and inconvenience my friends." Certain fellow MPs, I'm sorry to say, have been quick to twist the knife in. "William might have made a balls-up, but do we really want a quivering wreck coming off the plane whenever he has to go as far as Dublin Airport?" cheaply snipes one such detractor.

* "Are you an embarrassment sir?" shouted one scruffy upstart this week as Prince Andrew defiantly walked past the media scrum, before getting on with representing Britain's interests in the way only he knows. The said tormentor was Newsnight's Michael Crick, whose goading credentials are long-established among contemporaries. Not that Crick currently has a monopoly on the historic journalistic practice of shouting random abuse at embattled public figures as they're bundled into buildings. I'm assured his principal Westminster rival is Sky's mad old parrot Jon Craig, who has made at least part of a career out of regularly squawking the old chestnut: "Are you going to resign minister?!"

* Meanwhile, the intervention of Prince Andrew's "close society friend" Goga Ashkenazi ensures fresh fuel has been added to the flames. Dubbed the "Kazakh Siren" among, I'm sure, other things, Ms Ashkenazi helpfully informed the Evening Standard this week that our most misunderstood of Royals had personally told her he was "very, very worried" about his future as a trade envoy. (I'm sure it'll be fine!) Her timely arrival in the limelight has prompted fellow former students at Rugby School to recall this is one young lady who steers clear of anything resembling a bit of rough. Pals claim "Gawker" as she was then affectionately known, once refused to join the girls on a trip to the cinema to watch The Full Monty. "Why would I want to watch all those ugly people?" she's said to have declared at the time. In her defence, she's far more tolerant of the posh and stupid.

* Disappointing news concerning portly Tory charmer Ed Vaizey, who this week apparently angered his fans by failing to turn up at the Birds Eye View film festival on London's South Bank. "He was supposed to be there," growls one deflated Vaizey groupie. "But he was nowhere to be seen. What with the problems inside the British film industry, he as an arts minister should be more supportive." Frankly, ever since Mr Vaizey flatly refused to answer my innocently worded question concerning the identity of his favourite Radio One DJ from the eighties, I've had doubts this man takes his brief seriously.

highstreetken@independent.co.uk

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Talent Manager / HR Manager - central London - £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam