Diary: One consolation for imprisoned Saif – he's still a doctor

 

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the dictator's son, faces a bleak future in his Libyan prison, with little hope of a visit from any of the politicians or academics who courted him while his father was in power.

But he has one consolation. So far as British academia is concerned, he is still entitled to call himself Dr Gaddafi. Why, is something we do not know, though the Tory MP Robert Halfon hopes to find out. Colleagues at London University investigated the decision by the LSE to award Gaddafi Jnr a PhD.

Their report is not being published, but we know that they concluded that the doctorate was in order. Mr Halfon, whose grandfather was driven out of Libya, is slapping in a Freedom of Information request to have the report released.

"Most people find it morally abhorrent that he was awarded a PhD," he said. "This is not a matter of procedure, it's an ethical issue."

The last remnants of Empire

Answering a question from the bulldog-loving Tory MP Andrew Rosindell this week, David Cameron gave a "guarantee" that the Government will "protect, defend and cherish" the 16 overseas territories that are the last remnants of the British Empire. That could be an expensive promise. The garrison on the Falkland Islands alone costs around £70m a year, and some of the others would be yet more expensive to patrol, if in fact our Government was defending them, which it is not.

Pitcairn Island, for example, a lump of organic rock sticking out of the Pacific Ocean, inhabited by about 50 descendants of the nine mutineers from the crew of the Bounty and their Tahitian wives. Though the Ministry of Defence has a responsibility to guard the islands, no Royal Navy ship has visited it since September 2000. But, given that the island is 3,300 miles from New Zealand and over 4,000 miles from America, the risk of it being attacked is not that great.

Mystery that doesn't fade away

It is the fate of ageing rock stars to be famous for what they did before they were 25. Guitarist Mick Taylor, 62, joined John Mayall's Bluesbreakers in his teens, and the Rolling Stones when he was 20, but resigned in 1974, never fully explaining why. "Why did I leave? I can't tell you. Not now. All I can tell you is that at the time it was all put down to artistic differences – but that was only half of it," he has told the January edition of Mojo magazine.

In the same issue that rather more durable Rolling Stones guitarist, Keith Richards, describes life after writing an autobiography that has been named Book of the Year. "Before, it was always, 'Oh, that old junkie that just does rock'n'roll.' I think they were a little surprised to discover I could actually write. But that's cool," he said. I own a hardback copy of his autobiography, kindly given to me as a Christmas present, yet to me, he is now and forever "that old junkie who does rock'n'roll".

Vanity costs a little more

Commissioning a portrait of John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, and a coat of arms was denounced as a "vanity" project when it was said that it had cost the taxpayer £37,000. But yesterday it emerged that officials had overlooked two items from "other budgets" which meant that the exercise cost £44,000. "The Speaker was not aware these costs were not included in the figures provided and in the interests of transparency wanted this clarification published as soon as the error was recognised," a spokeswoman said.

An intriguing meeting of minds

A meeting at which it would have been fun to be a fly on the wall was scheduled yesterday evening in Kensington, where Ed Miliband had arranged a chinwag with Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail.

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

Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £35000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £32000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker