Diary: Rupert speaks – and the Tories lap it up

Doing time inevitably dulls the sensibilities and sours the sweetest of natures, so forgive Conrad Black if bitterness seasons the transition back to freedom. It isn't easy, how-ever, because his attack on Rupert Murdoch, in a book review, is disgraceful. Connie not only refers to Rupert's "orange-dyed hair" (long since shaved off) and his "coarse sense of humour", but describes him as "monotonous as a public speaker".

Preposterous. If Rupert isn't the most charismatic orator since Hitler, what on earth lured so many Tory Cabinet ministers to his inaugural Margaret Thatcher Lecture in London on Thursday? Present to hear dear old Davros laud the assault on welfare and the purity of his staff's journalistic methods (see below) were Iain Duncan Smith, Theresa May and Lady Warsi. Also present was the Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. If this seemed bold while his colleague Vince Cable, a curious absentee, struggles with whether to block Rupert's plan to take a 100 per cent stake in BSkyB, let us make this plain on Jeremy's behalf. His attendance was not intended to signal that government media policy and Rupert's ambitions are one and the same. He was there solely to take Rupert aside and whisper: "Look, guv'nor, in the light of George's crackdown on corporate tax avoidance, we really must ask you to pay more than 17 shillings, sixpence ha'penny corporation tax on your profits next year. Do you think you might see your way clear to coughing up a couple of grand?



* If Jeremy has already done Rupert's bidding as regards the BBC, of course, the Beeb's rearguard fight for public sympathy began well. How cunning on Wednesday to preface coverage of the spending review, in which its 16 per cent budget cut was announced, with aerial pictures of Parliament. We've already pared expenditure to the bone, was the subliminal message there. Are we now to be forced to jettison the overhead helicopter shots without which a story like this one wouldn't make an iota of sense?

* Meanwhile, Rupert's Times runs an intriguing profile of Glenn Beck, one of his more prized assets as Fox News's lachrymal prophet of apocalypse. The one thing missing from Mark Leibovich's piece was any mention that it appeared a month ago in The New York Times. This seemed odd. Then again, considering that the NYT has done more than any British paper to collar the News of the World and Andy Coulson over the hacking of mobiles, the usual copyright line might have looked weirder still.



* Concerns mount for Nick Robinson after the BBC's political editor stamped an anti-war placard – waved behind him during a broadcast – half to death. Like another Nick – the Deputy PM who melted hearts on Desert Island Discs yesterday by admitting to struggling with his conscience over the spending cuts he so zealously supports – Ragin' Robbo was a Tory at university, and so must take more care not to betray partisanship. If he hasn't taken his flame-thrower to a pro-war placard by mid-November, I'll buy him a place on the James Murdoch Residential Anger Management Course (senior lecturer: Adam Boulton) for Christmas.



* In the first instalment of the new, austerity-age feature Pretentious Plutocratic Parsimony, we turn to Dasha Zhukova. Roman Abramovich's partner has the run of the world's two largest yachts, while he has spent tens of millions on artwork for her gallery in Moscow. "What's your biggest extravagance?" Dasha was asked by the Financial Times. "Walking barefoot," she replied.

* Tremendous relief at Nadine Dorries' exoneration over charges of expenses dodginess. The Tory MP for Mid Bedfordshire got off after persuading the standards commissioner that her blog, in which she revealed spending less time at her constituency home than the relevant claims suggested, was 70 per cent fiction. "I would also like to state," ran a triumphalist entry posted on Saturday, "that every word written on my blog is absolutely true." Nadine is shaping into the most entrancing backbencher since the great Helen Brinton, and we wouldn't be without her for the world.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Reach Volunteering: Chair and trustees sought for YMCA Bolton

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Bolton YMCA is now a...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor