Diary: Why the empire failed to fly the flag for the Jubilee


As you may have noticed, despite all the publicity around the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War, no Falklands flag flew in London during the Queen's Jubilee celebrations or this month's Trooping of the Colour. It wasn't just the Falklands Islands thus overlooked.

There were no flags from any of the Overseas Territories, those last outposts of the British empire.

The Department for Culture had gone to the trouble of ordering "bespoke ceremonial flagpoles and flags" specially for the occasion, but when the manufacturer delivered them, they were found to be either unusable, or in need of repairs. John Penrose, the minister responsible, has promised that they will all be replaced or repaired.

Wanted: insane spin doctor for Michael Gove

Michael Gove's education department will soon be advertising for a replacement for James Frayne, head of communications, who is off to help Mitt Romney in his attempt to become the next US president.

I see from an internal document that anyone who wants to be interviewed for his job will have to meet an occupational psychologist who will give the interviewing panel his report. I assume that the point of the assessment is to check that all the candidates are stark staring mad, because what sane person would argue it is a good idea to bring back O-levels?

Italy exults over German rout

The Italians have reasons to be gleeful. They knocked Germany out of Euro 2012, and their negotiators came away from the EU summit in Brussels having won a diplomatic victory over Germany.

Even so, the headline on the front of il Giornale, an Italian daily, is pretty shocking. It says "Ciao ciao culona" – or "Bye, bye, fat arse", while the graphic on the front of Libero shows the Italian striker Mario Balotelli kicking Merkel's head – into the net, presumably – under the word "Vaffanmerkel" in block capitals. That can roughly be translated as "F*** you, Merkel". When Lord Leveson is finished here he should perhaps set up shop in a High Court in Rome.

Bring back sex please – we're British!

Jilly Cooper, queen of the bonkbusters, speaking to The Citizen, her local paper in Gloucester, has hailed the new erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey, declaring that it is "bringing sex back to the nation". Which leaves me wondering when sex was taken away and by whom.

1960s Tory spy preserves his cover

As an exercise in bare-faced hypocrisy, it would be hard to beat an appearance in a BBC discussion programme on 14 June 1967 by the Tory MP Ray Mawby.

The topic was the impending legislation under which, for the first time, consensual sex between adult males would be partially legalised.

Mawby asserted that prison was the right place for gay men because "this is a deterrent against those practices". He was particularly concerned about the security risk.

There had been a series of spy scandals in the previous years. "Most of the people involved security cases have been found to male homosexuals," Mawby claimed.

By the time of the broadcast, most of the notorious spies were out of action. Philby, Burgess and Maclean had defected, Vassall was in prison, and Blunt had given up spying.

But there was one person still earning cash by selling secrets to the Communists, as we reported in yesterday's Independent – namely, Ray Mawby.

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