Diary: Foreign Office ignorance a taxing issue for Anguillans


Those clever types at the Foreign Office read cables from all over the globe that relay any news that may be relevant to the UK's diplomatic relations.

But apparently The Anguillian, a newspaper published on the tiny island of Anguilla in the eastern Caribbean, is on nobody's reading list. This omission is shown up in an answer given to Michael Ashcroft, the former deputy chairman and bankroller of the Tories, who is assiduously interested in small, far-flung former British colonies.

Lord Ashcroft submitted a written question about comments made by the Chief Minister of Anguilla, which suggested the UK's relations with the island's administration are in tatters.

"We are not aware that the Chief Minister has made such a statement," the Foreign Minister, David Howell, replied on the Government's behalf. Somebody at the FCO should take a peek at the 30 September edition of The Anguillian, which is available online.

People on that 35-square-mile island, which is governed as a British Overseas Territory, are worried about their economy, their tourist industry and a 10 per cent tax on restaurants and car rentals due to come into force in January.

Herbert Hughes, who was elected Chief Minister of Anguilla last year, is quoted as saying: "We are taxing ourselves to death and I want to say this, that the British is our dilemma. They are no asset to us. They are our liability.

"The British is out to destroy the economy. I don't know what the goal is, but I believe they want the piece of land; they don't want the people to live here, but we cannot survive under this kind of pressure. It is a deliberate war against the people of Anguilla... but these taxes will not see the light of day in my House of Assembly."

Lord Howell is due to meet Mr Hughes later this month. He says he wants to hold "productive discussions". He had better make sure somebody briefs him about what is going on.


A mea culpa from the Mirror

On Tuesday, the Daily Mirror did the honest thing and reported that it could be implicated in the phone-hacking scandal because of a suspicious entry in a private detective's notebook. And it got the facts wrong. The paper reported that the notebook might contain the words "the Daily Mirror" when it meant that there might be a person's name in it "relating to the Mirror". So in the corrections column yesterday, the Daily Mirror corrected a report in the Daily Mirror about the Daily Mirror. Surely a first in British journalism.


MP rewarded for his succinctness

Congratulations to the Tory MP Charles Walker for winning The Spectator award for the Parliamentary Speech of the Year last night for his contribution to a Commons debate on whether to hold a referendum on membership of the EU, a speech which, though space be limited, can be quoted in full. He said: "If not now, when?"


Victory for Tatchell, to a degree...

People with long political memories will recall the insults hurled at Peter Tatchell when he was the Labour candidate in what turned into a disastrous by-election in Bermondsey, in south London, not least because the homophobic former Labour council leader went around the constituency with a loudhailer chanting: "Oh Tatchell is a poppet...."

Well, we are all going to have to treat the evergreen gay activist with due deference, because now he is Dr Tatchell. Yesterday he was solemnly awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Law by the London South Bank University for such actions as his two attempts to make a citizen's arrest of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe.

The ceremony was at Southwark Cathedral. The last time the good doctor visited the cathedral was when he staged a disruptive protest against homophobia in the Church of England as 60 bishops were attending morning eucharist.


Rees-Mogg meets up with Bagpuss

Who could forget the clarion call issued by the Conservative MP for North East Somerset, Jacob Rees-Mogg, when he urged David Cameron: "Stiffen your sinews, summon up the blood, imitate the action of a tiger. For that is how you should behave to our European partners, not like Bagpuss."

Those words led him inevitably to a photo opportunity in a shop that sells Bagpuss. As you look at the picture, Bagpuss is on the left. The odd looking creature on the right is Mr Rees-Mogg.

Suggested Topics
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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

COO / Chief Operating Officer

£80 - 100k + Bonus: Guru Careers: A COO / Chief Operating Officer is needed to...

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...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
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