Diary: Kuttner can rely on Uri Geller and his special powers...
Wednesday 03 August 2011
Stuart Kuttner, the latest in a line of News International executives to see the inside of a police interview room, can count on one man for a character reference: that old spoon-bender Uri Geller.
Geller's website reveals that he made friends with Kuttner when he first arrived in Britain in the 1980s. The ex-managing editor of the News of the World is, Geller wrote in 2009, "a warm, witty man with a campaigner's heart, and when he fixes his newspaper's sights on a political target you know he will never give up... Britain is lucky to have patient, determined, obstinate men like Stuart who will hang on to what's right and never let go till the job is done."
* In June this column congratulated humble-as-humble-pie polymath Rory Stewart on his inevitable elevation to the top rank of public life. The former soldier, adventurer, diplomat, academic, and so on, was among the delegates at the Bilderberg Conference 2011 in St Moritz. The Bilderberg, as you may or may not be aware (they're jolly secretive), is an annual TED-meets-the-Freemasons-style executive retreat, at which CEOs, politicians, billionaire industrialists and other assorted illuminati and reptilian humanoids exchange secret handshakes and tips for taking over the world.
Bilderberg rules state that "participants attend in a private, not an official capacity" – otherwise they might be asked by voters or shareholders to reveal the substance of their dastardly discussions. And yet, it turns out, Stewart's fellow Bilderberger George (né Gideon) Osborne charged the taxpayer up to £5,000 for his trip, and even took a Treasury aide with him! According to his parliamentary office, the famously self-reliant Stewart (once compared, by himself, to TE Lawrence and the fictional demigod Achilles) paid his own way.
* Ed Miliband has drafted in Charles Allen, chairman of EMI, to conduct a management review of the Labour Party – widely decoded as an attempt to reassert authority after the unions installed Iain McNicol as general secretary. Little Ed's chums are keen to stress that Allen won't undermine McNicol's authority, but those who know the former ITV chief have their doubts. "Charles is the ultimate workaholic," an ex-colleague tells me. "Iain is a very capable bloke, but he's going to have his work cut out keeping up; Charles is simply in a different league." Another acquaintance claims Allen's quite the luvvie, with friends including the philanthropist and former publisher of Asian Babes, not-Sir Richard Desmond.
* Crispin Mount, my amateur Cotswold correspondent, thinks the Chipping Norton Set has generated an excess of coverage for the north Cotswolds. So, in the interests of tipping the balance southwards, he relates an embarrassing episode for one Cotswold District councillor. Cllr David Fowles holds the car-parking portfolio in the "Tory dystopia" (Crispin can be hyperbolic), and recently introduced unpopular new charges for pay-and-display parking in CDC-owned car parks overnight and on Sundays.
So locals were incensed when Fowles's own car was photographed, parked illegally on Silver Street in Cirencester. Fowles has been shamed into making a charity donation (in place of a fine), while, Crispin says, "local Lib Dems are discovering that a teenager with an iPhone camera can be an immense asset in the drive to improve local democracy".
* There follows a selection of quotes from the must-follow Twitter feed of Joey Barton (@Joey7Barton), currently available on a free transfer to football clubs and/or university philosophy depts: "'In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act' – George Orwell"; "'Come what may, all bad fortune is to be conquered by endurance' – Virgil"; "'Freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men's minds' – Charles Darwin"; "I've read the book 'The End of America' by Naomi Wolf. There's a DVD out, has anyone seen it? Is it as good as the book?"; "I was thinking: if u 'plank', does that make u a 'planker'?"
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