Diary: No time to play top Trumps

It would now be fair to conclude that President Obama wasn't exaggerating when announcing he was "too busy" to be having to deal with the nonsense surrounding his birth certificate last week.

Bizarre-looking bruiser and possible presidential rival Donald Trump was widely credited with upping the stakes in the so-called "birther" controversy which led to a predictably peeved Obama having to appear on television following official confirmation he was born in Hawaii, rather than Africa or Indonesia as his enemies had hoped. "We do not have time for this kind of silliness," he announced. "We've got better stuff to do. I've got better stuff to do. We've got big problems to solve."

A big problem, indeed. For while even the President's most ardent critics would have had previously to concede that the bloke does have quite a lot on his plate at the best of times, such a declaration is given added weight now that we know he was privately planning to take out Osama bin Laden.

* The demise of Osama bin Laden ensures north London footballing giants Arsenal are at least one high-profile fan down as the season approaches its climax. Back in 2001, it was reported that the terrorist leader had become smitten with the Gunners in the 1990s when he was staying in Britain, and had even become something of a regular on the terraces.

Sensing a potentially tricky public relations operation ahead, Arsenal hastily let it be known that Osama could not expect the same kind of hospitality enjoyed by fellow celebrity fans, such as Alan Davies and Rory McGrath, and promptly banned him from the club's Highbury ground (which I'm sure came as a blow to Bin Laden).

While it was never clear whether the said ban extended to Arsenal's Emirates Stadium which was opened in 2006 (there were debts to pay off, after all, pity to turn away business) Osama was carefully airbrushed out of the club's history books. Still, he was said to have purchased an Arsenal shirt during one visit – although debate continues to rage over whether he opted to have Tony Adams or Dennis Bergkamp printed on the back.

* Yesterday's announcement that Bin Laden was "sleeping with the fishes" ensured the rolling news coverage that had greeted the death of national treasure and former boxer Sir Henry Cooper came to an abrupt halt. Indeed, some aggrieved fans who had been busy enjoying repeats of Cooper's Brut aftershave ads with Kevin Keegan were quick to suggest that "Our Enery" had suddenly become "Mother Teresa to Bin Laden's Princess Diana" – in reference to another regrettable overlap some years ago. In a similar vein, claims he was "Farrah Fawcett to Bin Laden's Michael Jackson" would have no doubt met with a trusty left hook from our old champ.

It came as little surprise yesterday that mistakes would rear their heads in even the most experienced of newsrooms. BBC and Sky viewers, as well as those of the right-wing US channel Fox News, were all informed at some stage that "Obama" had come a cropper. Suspicious types even suggested it was wishful thinking on Fox's part.

* As the long-planned Bin Laden Special draws to a close in today's column, we can return to more domestic matters. Admirers of Princess Diana would be quick to remind us that we've already had the "People's Princess" – while fans of snooker's original wild man Alex "Hurricane" Higgins would point out he was long known as the "People's Champion", in between accidentally head-butting the odd tournament official. Now the increasingly infirm Lord Sugar modestly tells the Radio Times: "I think of myself as the People's Peer." Trust me, Lord Sugar, you're so much more than that.

* Last week's announcement that I could soon be heading for pastures new, after applying for the post of communications director at News International, inevitably prompted a concerned response. I can now confirm that despite what I'm assured was "considerable interest" in the CV, my would-be employers have reluctantly chosen to look elsewhere, due to what's being described as my "clear lack of qualifications for the role". So for now at least, readers, I remain your humble servant. Onwards and upwards!


Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: HR and Payroll Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This dynamic outsourced contact...

Recruitment Genius: Production & Quality Control Assistant

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity for a ...

Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor - Kettering - £32,000

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor with an established...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Generalist

£40 - 50k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a HR Manager / HR Genera...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor