Diary: I'm your fan, George tells Tom

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The Independent Online

On Tuesday, I brought news that Tom Watson, scourge of phone hackers everywhere, was a Phil Collins fan. Watson was spotted, you'll recall, celebrating Rebekah Brooks' resignation (probably) by dancing to Collins' hit "Easy Lover" in a Soho nightclub.

Now the MP has earned a fan of his own from the 1980s pop star community. During the Murdochs' appearance at the Media Select Committee, George Michael tweeted: "Tom Watson... HERO!" Watson, who is known for his expert grasp of technology, replied: "Whoa – thanks George!", even adding an "x" to his message – not a common piece of punctuation for the tough West Brom Brownite. But then, as he later admitted, Michael's message was "a big moment for a Wham! fan".

* This column would love to wrench its gaze from News International and report on the euro crisis, but sadly Angela Merkel has failed to attract any pie-toting, so-called "activists". And until some brave soul dares to enliven continental affairs thus, I'll be forced to go on exposing those who'd exploit the woes of poor, foam-smeared Rupe.

The annals of comedy contain many misguided stunts performed in pursuit of a glittering showbiz career. Who could forget Aaron Barschak gatecrashing Prince William's 21st dressed as Osama bin Laden? (Answer: everyone.) Or Lembit Opik, who spent 13 years in Parliament and a fortnight in the jungle to publicise his stand-up tour? Yet both pale alongside Jonnie "Marbles" May-Bowles, who this week lunged for comedy stardom by having Wendi "Ding-Dong" Deng beat the crap out of him.

A glance at Marbles' blog reveals another anti-establishment plot: in February, angered by cuts, Marbles called on Labour councillors to superglue themselves to Communities Secretary Eric "Extra" Pickles. Which would, admittedly, have been funnier than attacking an 80-year-old man.

* I wouldn't want you to think I'm getting soft in Rupert's old age, so we turn now to Peter Jay, ex-economics editor of the BBC. Writing in Prospect, Jay, 74, thanks none other than God for "the seeming destruction in the same month of the two things I loathe most: the euro and Rupert Murdoch".

The euro remains of little interest to this column (see above). As for Murdoch, Jay discontinued his own Times column in 1980 when he heard of the Australian's takeover. The source of his disgust, he explains, was a tale told by a friend who had dined with Rupe. "They had been discussing a leading American politician," Jay claims, "whom I regarded as conspicuously enlightened, liberal-minded and armed with a commendably tender social conscience. 'It is the aim of my life to destroy people like that,' the great press baron told my friend." Such destructive instincts, Jay goes on, are "the province of Satan himself". (Jay also served as chief of staff to Robert Maxwell, so may not be an entirely reliable judge of character.)

* NI's tentacles have reached into the office of another senior Tory. The register of interests of MPs' secretaries and research assistants reveals that the Chief Whip, Patrick McLoughlin MP, issued a Commons security pass to one Eileen Wright, who declares among her other interests that she is "secretary to Mr Matthew Parris, a journalist for The Times". A Murdoch mole in the Chief Whip's office?! Not exactly: Parris, himself a former Tory MP, surrendered his West Derbyshire constituency (and, presumably, a portion of Ms Wright's schedule) to Mr McLoughlin in 1986.

* In all the excitement this week, you'd be forgiven for having missed the results of Channel Four's "Great British Sex Survey". Among the criteria for respondents was their newspaper of choice, which is how I can tell you that readers of the Daily Star are the most likely to use handcuffs and/or film themselves during sexual intercourse, and that Mail readers masturbate less frequently than the average Briton. The Independent's sister, i, attracts those most likely to have had a threesome, while 36 per cent of Independent readers claim to have cheated on their partner. Well, as long as you stay loyal to this paper, you're all right by me.

highstreetken@independent.co.uk

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