Diary: It's war, but both Fox and Hague have gone Awol

The most languid political sack race in memory crawls forward, with Downing Street briefing viciously against two leading candidates via well-connected hacks. It fell to our former colleague Ian Birrell, who as a friend of and sometime-speechwriter for David Cameron seems unlikely to speak out of turn, to suggest that William Hague be replaced at the Foreign Office by Paddy Ashdown, and demoted to party chairman instead. Yet if Billy 14 Pints has the same influence over what passes for foreign policy as Vernon Kay, Liam Fox seems equally impotent at Defence. The good doctor has been frozen out of the "war cabinet", the Mail on Sunday reveals, with his contribution limited (I paraphrase a little) to brushing George Osborne's Bullingdon topper. It's difficult to see how Foxy's counterstrike – ignoring the limitations of UNSCR 1973 and his leader's wishes to repeat his insistence that Gaddafi must be removed – will help him. Some will think it peculiar, at a time of war, for both Foreign and Defence Secretaries to be missing in action. I prefer to see this timely reversion to sofa government as Mr Cameron prosecuting his Heir to Blair claims. Whether the legacy will delight him for long, time alone will tell.



* As for the other sack race co-favourite, Kenneth Clarke awoke refreshed from his nap to impart, of Libya: "I am still not totally convinced that anyone knows where we are going now." This won't have thrilled Downing Street, yet for once Ken showed restraint. For anyone tempted to ask Mr Cameron about his Libyan strategy, let me translate the official answer into Fawltyese: you might as well ask the No 10 cat.



* From one determinedly modest public figure to another, and Geoffrey Boycott's thoughts on cricketer Michael Yardy's depression. For dismissing this as Mr Yardy merely becoming aware, thanks to Geoffrey himself, that he isn't a great spin bowler, he is attacked as an insensitive narcissist. Cobblers. Geoffrey, whose 1996 conviction for beating up his mistress in France was upheld on appeal, and who later said he was never angrier than when another girlfriend decided to keep his baby, is a sensitive soul. Indeed, he is a great believer – this is not a joke – in feng shui, once advising Michael Vaughan to reverse his poor form by moving the furniture. If only he had shown Mr Yardy that the problem lay in the misarrangement of artefacts and pictures in the communal areas outside his sub-continental hotel rooms. For no cricketer can thrive, as Geoffrey likes to observe, in a corridor of uncertainty.



* I've said it before and I'll say it again. With Sarah Palin finished, look out for her successor as the Creationist-doolally Republican candidate. Her name is Michele Bachmann, she's running for President, and it can't be long before Tina Fey does her on Saturday Night Live. Let the merriment begin.



* For patriots who prefer their certifiable right-wing fun home-grown, there is no news of Melanie Phillips. We hoped the Metropolitan Police would have decided by now whether to prosecute Mad Mel for her blogged insights into the "savagery" and "moral depravity" of "the Arabs". But it seems the Met has been too busy with demos and apologies connected with the Night Stalker. Next week, perhaps.

* With the happy day imminent, the BBC's royal-wedding anchor gives a "commentary masterclass" to a bunch of schoolgirls on its website.

"It takes a long time, several months," Huw Edwards explains of his preparations. "I've been looking at royal weddings going back to 1973, Princess Anne." Here, a clip is appended of Tom Fleming intoning: "The bride, and she's looking very lovely. It's a dress of white, pure silk, specially woven for Princess Anne." Will several months be enough to master these Byzantine complexities?

Only if Huw eschews the renaissance-man approach to reading out loud. If he elects to drive the carriage, carry the bridal train, nudge Rowan Williams aside at the altar, etc, it may get tricky. "We've learnt today," a pupil concludes, "that being a news presenter isn't just about reading from the script." Girls, Huw taught us fans that a long time ago.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: Human Resources Manager

£28000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: A successful organisation...

Recruitment Genius: Internal Recruiter - Manufacturing

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Internal Recruiter (manufact...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager (CIPD) - Barking / East Ham - £50-55K

£50000 - £55000 per annum + 25 days holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Man...

Recruitment Genius: Operations / Project Manager

£40000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea