Diary: George Soros should have some fun at Rupert Murdoch's expense
Monday 18 April 2011
Andreas Whittam Smith once observed that it is an act of madness for a journalist to write an open letter (see Melanie Phillip's blog of last Tuesday: "An Open Letter To The Culture Secretary"). So I will not begin with: "Dear George Soros." But if you have access to the liberal philanthropist, pass on this suggestion concerning Rupert Murdoch's purported plan to keep further allegations about the News of the World hacking scandal out of the press. By offering bug-ees more than precedent insists a court would award, News International doesn't have to give evidence under oath in court. If Sienna Miller rejects Murdoch's £100,000 and is given less by a judge, for instance, she will automatically be liable for her costs and his. Mr Soros is a habitual victim of Murdochian malevolence. Glenn Beck has attacked him on Fox News in virulently anti-Semitic terms, by alleging that he was a Nazi collaborator while a teenager in Hungary, among other delights lifted from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. If Mr Soros fancies revenge, he could indemnify anyone who wants to go to court but not to risk bankruptcy. It would cost Mr Soros millions to pick up the tab for even a few cases. But that's loose change for some mischievous fun.
* Speaking of overfamiliar letters, "Dear Matthew Norman", begins Ed Miliband's. "Over the past few months I have been meeting and writing to people... asking them about the challenges their families face today." Convinced my ideas are "invaluable", Ed hopes to hear from me soon. OK then, the invaluable idea is this: stop fretting about the challenges facing my family and start worrying about your own. Your mother Marion is still distraught, an acquaintance tells me, about the broigus with David and tonight's Passover dinner will be dismal for her. So put your own house in order before you propel more drivel through the letterbox of mine.
* To the Liberal Democrats' president, Tim Farron, we say this. Get yourself a public profile. If the AV vote goes down, the Cleggophobic floodgates will open and the torrent of resentment could sweep him away. Mr Farron, though bookies' favourite for next leader, is unknown to the public. If he wants the job, it's time to step out of the shadows.
* The name will be as unfamiliar as Tim's to younger readers, but to the mature, Chapman Pincher needs no introduction. The spy specialist's Treachery: The Real History of MI5 will be published in the UK next month, and among the intrigued will be Guinness World Records. At 97, Mr Pincher may be the oldest person to publish a magnum opus. "I now need to live at least one further year, if I can because an American movie company, CET Films, has bought the film rights, and is far advanced with a script," he writes. What a man.
* Hats off to Peter Hitchens on a sparkling Have I Got News For You cameo. He starred in a clip from the British Press Awards, gurning contemptuously on hearing that Matthew Parris had beaten him to best columnist. Quite a change from the losers' brave grins at the Kodak Theatre, Hollywood. The Oscars of our industry indeed.
* Britain's leading civilian warrior is on the march again! From behind the Times paywall, Armchair Field Marshall the Lord (David) Aaronovitch, above, attacks John Humphrys – a frequent target, and a colleague, coincidentally, during the AFM's very short stint as a Today producer long ago – for challenging William Hague over the Libyan campaign that strikes some as a shade confused. Let this be clear. The AFM's latest defence of Western interventionism, like so many before it, must not be read as a coded statement translating to: "I wasn't wrong about Iraq. I wasn't. I wasn't, I wasn't!"
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