Diary: What's a peacemaking holidaymaker to do?

Matthew Norman on Monday

What a joy to wake yesterday to the dulcets of Mr Tony Blair, who went on Andrew Marr's BBC1 show on a rare visit to the land of his birth to chat about Egypt. If a little drawn from the relentless grind of sprinkling peace over the Middle East, Mr Tony nonetheless seemed enviably relaxed, and no wonder. Andrew is an interviewer on whom he can always rely not to ask impertinent questions ... such as what on earth will the ex-PM do now for freebie holidays?

Although he seems to have downgraded his adoration for Hosni Mubarak, whom a fortnight ago he lauded as "immensely courageous" and "a force for good", the two were once so close that the dictator put at the Blairs' disposal the Sharm El Sheik residence to which he fled on Friday.

Although graciously accepting that dictator's hospitality did Mr Tony only credit, he can hardly go there again. Nor will he and Cherie be spending any languid weeks aboard Silvio Berlusconi's yacht, at least while the Italian Stallion – and whoever guessed he might be a bit of a rotter? – faces trial for underage sex. Not even Harold Wilson showed such exquisite judgment in choosing his friends. That he should be punished for that by having to pay for his own hols is nothing less than an obscenity.

* There is a ray of hope, however, so long as he is willing to downgrade to the B&B in Battle owned by Stan Rosenthal. One of the last surviving Blairite champions, it was Stan who complained to the BBC about Jeremy Paxman's reference to the Iraq war being justified with "lies"; and Stan who took a full-page New Statesman ad demanding a fair hearing for him from the Chilcot inquiry. There are so few of us true believers left that you'll excuse the plug for a compadre. Stan's B&B (grade 2 listed) boasts a suite in the annex above the art gallery. Battle, meanwhile, has no plans whatever to twin itself with The Hague.

More depressing is the championing of the English Defence League by Richard Desmond's Daily Star. What saddens here that in permitting this elegance, Richard formally relinquishes any hope of an overdue honour. All that questing for respectability – the charidee work for Jewish Care, selling his juicier mags, buying Channel 5 – and no longer the sniff of so much as a piddling CBE. The earthly price for integrity can be prohibitive, as other noble souls have learned, and its reward delayed until the next life.

* Anyone offended by the taunting of disabled Tory MP Paul Maynard by Labour members should read Michael White's splendid blog on the Guardian website. Much like Armchair Field Marshall the Lord Aaronovitch, Mike is absolutely the last hack to take a tone of dismissive, I'm-the-only-adult-in-town superiority. So when this voice of common sense dismisses outrage at the mocking of cerebral palsy as "too pious" ... I think we'll all feel pretty chastened by that.

* So will the News of the World, which yesterday ran a leader about discrimination in the Commons that might have appeared verbatim in this paper. "We measure our worth by the dignity with which we treat others," concludes this sinner that repenteth. "Not by cheap and vile sniggers at their expense." All right, we know Rupert is desperate to rebrand in the cause of snaffling that 100 per cent stake in BSkyB, but no need to lay it on quite so thick. Too pious by three quarters.

* I am depressed to read of my old schoolmate Matthew Freud's involvement in another party spat. Within a year of smearing chocolate cake over Hugh Grant's shirt, Matthew threw a martini over London Evening Standard editor Geordie Greig at a pre-Bafta bash, in umbrage at reporting of the proposed sale of wife Elisabeth Murdoch's production company Shine to her father's News Corp. Thankfully, there is a berth available in brother-in-law James Murdoch's Wapping anger-management support group. It's done wonders for James and Rebekah Brooks, and Matthew should claim that place forthwith.

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