Diary: When Ed took a leaf out of Comical Ali's playbook
Monday 20 June 2011
Father's Day found the nation's paterfamilias and his would-be replacement on captivating paternal form. We'll touch on the Prime Minister after doffing the cap to Ed Miliband, who told The Independent on Sunday that all residual fraternal tension has evaporated. "I'm just going to say," said Ed of his relationship with David, "that we have moved on." "Both of us," he soon went on, "have moved on." "I think what I would say," he added for clarification, "is that both of us have moved on." Tremendous. Who doesn't love a mantra from the Comical Ali playbook?
On his role as a father, however, Ed was more forthcoming. He sings "The Grand Old Duke of York" to his son Daniel at bedtime, when the two-year-old complains, "Too noisy, Daddy, too noisy." Distinguishing "noisy" from "nosy" clearly can't be easy in lisping toddlerese.
As for Ed Anoidal's bold choice of a nursery rhyme that satirises confused and clueless leadership, here the amateur psychologist looks for subliminal explanation. The most celebrated Duke of York, later George VI, had a diction problem that required specialist treatment after he took the crown from an arrogant older brother, who went into seclusion with an American wife furious at her husband being cheated of his birth right. Ah well, we look for clues, but cannot always find them. Time to move on.
* In his Father's Day piece in The Sunday Telegraph, meanwhile, the PM moved on from praising his dad's influence to arguing that we stigmatise absentee fathers as if they were "beyond the pale" drunk drivers. Mr Cameron learnt about responsibility from dad Ian, he writes, who went to work "before the crack of dawn", and "did not come back until late at night". For being off before the kids were up and returning long after they were in bed, he is lauded as a shining contrast to the absentee father. Have I missed something important?
* Encouragement for tennis fans from Frankie Boyle. "Andy Murray won the Queen's tournament," wrote Frankie in The Sun. "He'll have a great chance of winning Wimbledon now if none of the other top players enter that either." Both hilarious and acutely observed. Queen's was embarrassingly weak. There was a promising Spaniard in the draw – Rafael something or other, I think – but, as Frankie said, none of the top players bothered to enter.
* More bad news, alas, for Frankie's predecessor in The Sun. Jon Gaunt has lost his appeal against Ofcom's ruling that the "health Nazi" interview which cost him his TalkSport berth breached its code. Have you guessed yet where Gaunty, who memorably included Rolf Harris among his top 10 greatest living Britons, goes from here? Me neither. Much like Dustin Hoffman's impossibly precious Michael Dorsey in Tootsie, it seems no one will hire him. Perhaps it's time he tried his luck as a woman, and applied for The Spectator's uber right-wing female ranter blog spot vacated by Mad Melanie Phillips. Go, Gaunty, go! You can't sit by the phone waiting for All Souls to ring forever.
* As for Little Lord Flauntthelolly's successor as Tottenham chairman, a word for Daniel Levy. Manager Harry Redknapp seems unconvinced, in doth-protest-too-much kinda way, by your promise not to sell our beloved Luka Modric to Chelsea for any price. "That's what the chairman says and that's good enough for me," declares Harry. "He means that, I know he means that ... He can't backtrack...."
Harry, we see what you're up to there. Who knows whether it will work? Daniel famously has a First in Land Economy from Cambridge. Time will tell if he has the doctorate in Truth Economy to go with it.
* Another underrated intellectual dips a toe into the fetid pond of phone-hacking. Lord Sugar demands the jailing not only of the editors of guilty titles, but also their proprietors. This, after personally pocketing £35m from the £125m sale of his satellite dish-maker Amstrad to Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB four years ago. The platform-shoed ingrate.
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