Diary: Kelvin's breathless ascent to the moral high ground


The annual midwinter observance is upon us. I refer, of course, to Festivus – the "festival for the rest of us" created by the fiercely anti-religious Frank Costanza, the Christopher Hitchens of the sitcom Seinfeld. The appeal of its central rite, The Airing of the Grievances, speaks for itself. Yet this column seeks only the best in others, so let's begin with Kelvin Mackenzie. No article from 2011 delighted me like his Daily Mail blog of last week, headlined "Who Will Say Sorry To Rupert?" Oddly this wasn't a Kelvin mea culpa for picking a (superinjunction-related) fight with Jeremy Clarkson in front of a horrified Murdoch at a party last summer, days before he mysteriously vacated his Sun column.

The apology Kelvin sought was from The Guardian for reporting that the News of the World deleted Milly Dowler's messages. If this one error proves the genesis for a tabloid fightback, hurrah for that. Who could fail to see the injustice in a man convicted of picking pockets and aggravated rape remaining in prison after being cleared, on appeal, of picking pockets? God knows we need an elder statesman to protect the standards that Kelvin, as Sun editor, applied to his Hillsborough coverage and much besides. Anne Diamond recalled ringing him, after The Sun ignored her request to stay away from her baby son's funeral, to beg him not to use any pictures. He ran one all over the front page. In leading any insurgency against the Leveson tyranny, unquestioned moral authority must be king.


Proof that lists know no bounds

The mania for lists scales a new peak. The Simon Wiesenthal Center issues a press release: Top Ten Anti-Semitic Slurs of 2011, and try to say the following in Fluff Freeman's voice. Straight in at No 5 is Lars von Trier, with 'I understand Hitler'... He's not what you would call a good guy, but yeah ... I sympathise with him a little bit. Down to No 4 is John Galliano, with 'I love Hitler'. And so on, all the way to Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas at No 1. All right? Not 'arf!


An aperitif I will always remember

Many have their own fond memories of Christopher Hitchens, and I wish mine went beyond a solitary meal in Blackpool during a distant Labour conference. How can you not instantly adore a man who, when asked about an aperitif, replies, "Thank you, yes. I'll have a sextuple Scotch and a bottle of red wine chaser"?


Happy Christmas, war is over

Hitchens's death has provoked a torrent of brilliant memorial writing, though the eye is also caught by Armchair Field Marshal the Lord (David) Aaronovitch in The Times. "Let me just say here that I'm not trying to warm my ragged arse by Hitchens's dying fire," writes Aarono, before dismissing any criticism of the Hitch's journey from Trot to Iraq war proselytiser as "a self-comforting lozenge the lazy intellectual Left sucks on to make its doubts and pain go away". We have two choices here. One is to congratulate David on press-ganging a corpse into his rearguard campaign to justify his own Iraq war cheerleading. The other, which I prefer, is to borrow a song title from another scandalously short-lived English emigré to the eastern US. Happy Christmas, Armchair Field Marshal, war is over!


Cope with a Leveson session Anne's way

By the way, a bit of advice for anyone called before Leveson in 2012 who fancies trying the old technique of de-terrorising authority figures by imagining them as small children. Talk to Anne Robinson. Long ago, when Anne's mother sent her to his lordship's father, a Liverpool shrink, for help with beating the booze, she spent the sessions staring at a snap of the little Leveson in short trousers.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

HR Business Partner (Maternity Cover 12 Months)

£30000 - £34000 Per Annum 25 days holiday, Private healthcare: Clearwater Peop...

Project Manager (Procurement & Human Resources)

Unpaid: Cancer Research UK: If you’re a professional in project management, lo...

Geography Teacher

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We require a teacher of Geogr...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star