Diary: Is Murdoch after Labour's endorsement again?


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The Independent Online

As we await the arrival of the newest national newspaper, the Sunday edition of The Sun, members of Labour's front bench report receiving strange telephone calls. At least two have been invited to "join Ed Miliband" in endorsing the new product.

But they swear blind that he has not "endorsed" the paper at all. A Labour spokesman said: "The party works with all media organisations, but [Miliband] wouldn't endorse any newspaper, including The Sun on Sunday."

Tom Watson, scourge of the Murdoch empire, added: "It's no surprise that the relaunched News of the World seeks to use the good reputation of Ed Miliband to increase its profile. It's very wise of him to remain studiously neutral in the matter."

Don't give up the day job, m'lud

Something else that will not be in tomorrow's Sun is a political column by the "Blue Labour" guru, Maurice Glasman. A rumour had been swirling around Westminster for days that he had been offered a £1,000 a week gig as a political commentator.

The attraction, from The Sun's point of view, would be Lord Glasman's infinite capacity for embarrassing Ed Miliband. The down side would be a writing style so baffling that it is unlikely that most tabloid readers would get past the opening sentence.

It emerged yesterday that Lord Glasman has written one article in an attempted tabloid style, but was persuaded by his fellow Labour peer Stewart Wood not to offer it to The Sun. It can now be read on the LabourList website.

What pinged the interest of Sun executives was that Lord Glasman had taken Ed Miliband's much-used catchphrase the "Squeezed Middle" and reworked it to talk about the "Squeezed Bottom".

However, another sentence taken from the same piece – "We need people in power who are successful ... not people with an MBA who write email memos and improve the feedback loop" – would suggest that his Lordship is not yet ready to be the new Kelvin Mackenzie.

"It's less baffling than many Maurice articles," Mark Ferguson, editor of LabourList, suggested.

Bercow's ban is a bit disingenuous

The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow has added "disingenuous" to the list of words that are, supposedly, unparliamentary. After the Transport minister, Theresa Villiers, had called Labour's Maria Eagle "entirely disingenuous", Mr Bercow huffed: "We do not use the word 'disingenuous' in the Chamber."

As a matter of fact, they do. The Tory MP Christopher Chope used it twice during a debate on local government on Tuesday. In fact, it has been used for hundreds of years. In 1689, Parliament was debating the powers of the newly installed monarchs, William and Mary. Hansard records that the King's critics were accused of having "acted a very disingenuous part".

It is a bit too late to be trying to ban it now.

Anti-royals wound up by Beeb's 'bias'

Organisers of the anti-monarchist pressure group Republic are cross. After the syrupy BBC series The Diamond Queen, fronted by Andrew Marr, they obtained a leaked email from producers of the forthcoming one-hour documentary marking the diamond jubilee, and featuring a song written by Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Gary Barlow.

The email says that the programme makers are "hoping to speak with people who have a respect for the Queen" and "are not interested in hearing a personal bad word against the Queen".

Republic's chief executive, Graham Smith, said: "While the BBC claim in public to be impartial and furiously deny any accusations of bias they are privately doing all they can to produce pro-monarchy propaganda."