Diary: Jeremy Hunt's evidence proves to be past its sell-by date

 

One overlooked passage in Jeremy Hunt's evidence to the Leveson Inquiry last week is so inaccurate, exaggerated, out of date and generally not the case that you might almost call it a fib.

"I have a section on my website which is really there for the benefit of my constituents," claimed the Culture Secretary "where I put up press articles about me, so that people can see what I'm up to. It's helpful to my constituents to put up all the comments about me, positive or negative.

And there's more – "There are comment sections on my website where constituents themselves put up comments, positive or negative."

I pointed out in this Diary three weeks ago that Hunt's website was well out of date. The latest entry was posted on 29 March, announcing the birth of his daughter, a week earlier.

There is a more recent comment from a member of the public, dated 24 April, though there has been nothing "negative", nor any national news, posted since early March. The latest entry on the invitation to join a Twitter conversation, as of yesterday, was 44 days old.

The best that can be said for this section of Hunt's evidence is that it would have been true if he had used the past tense.

The wit of Doris Karloff

It is a requirement of democratic politics that our leaders show a willingness to humiliate themselves for the gratification of the public. Hence Ed Miliband's admission in his speech yesterday that he does indeed look like Wallace, of Wallace and Gromit. "If spin doctors could design a politician, I suspect he wouldn't look like me," he added. That line was good enough to have been written by a spin doctor – which it probably was.

It will be quoted more often than a similar piece of self-deprecation from Ann Widdecombe, whose looks earned her the nickname "Doris Karloff" – though I would say that hers was wittier. At a Tory Party conference, she tore into a Department of Health pamphlet which featured a host of photographs of Tessa Jowell, then Health minister. Having counted them all, "Doris" exclaimed: "I could understand it if she had my looks."

A monstrously futile argument

For pointless arguments, you could hardly beat the one that has erupted in Bournemouth over a sculpture commemorating Frankenstein. It came out of discussions between Tobias Ellwood, MP for Bournemouth East, and Avonbourne School over ways to mark Bournemouth's "literary heritage".

Instead of producing something that looked like Boris – or even Doris – Karloff, the sculptor, Andy Kirkby, came up with a 1.3-tonne marble statue of a dove. Bournemouth Council has applied for permission to place it in a local park, called Shelley Park, after Mary Shelley, who wrote Frankenstein.

This has provoked a protest from the chairman of The Friends of Shelley Manor, Pat Clark, who thinks that a statue that looked like the Frankenstein monster would do more to bring in the tourists. "It's a missed opportunity," he told the Bournemouth Echo.

You might think from this that there is a link between Bournemouth and Mary Shelley's classic novel. There is not. The idea for the story originated in evenings spent near Lake Geneva when Mary Shelley, her poet husband, her sister Claire, and Claire's lover, Lord Byron, scared one another by inventing ghost stories. The novel was completed in a cottage that is still standing, in West Street, Marlow, Buckinghamshire.

Or you might think there is a link between Bournemouth and the life of Mary Shelley. Hardly. She never lived there, but, for reasons unknown, wanted to be buried there. Her grave is in St Peter's Church.

Two years left for this charming man

Morrissey, the singer who ordered David Cameron not to like his music, may soon stop producing it. He once pledged to quit the music business at 55, which leaves him with just two years on the road.

Interviewed on JuiceOnline.com he confirmed that he means it. "I am slightly shocked to have gone as far as I have."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - HR Consultancy - £65,000 OTE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?