The usual complaint about the bureaucrats of Brussels is that they regulate too much and interfere too much in the free market. But Brussels is too liberal for some parents anxious about what their children are watching. Because we are in the EU, the UK cannot prevent certain soft-porn stations from offering their tacky output on Freeview television. Any station that has a licence from any EU regulatory authority is entitled to broadcast throughout the EU, and it would be illegal to bar them. Ofcom, the British regulator, is trying to do what it can. Yesterday it announced it had approached Dutch counterparts, who are responsible for allowing Babestation and Smile TV to infest our screens, requesting that they think again.
Incidentally, if Ofcom gets its way, and Babestation is removed from Freeview television, it could be a financial setback for Shaun Wright-Phillips, the 30-year-old QPR and former England winger. It has been reported that he invested £20,000 in the station. When asked, on BBC 1xtra, he said: "No, I didn't invest £20,000 in the Babestation". To the next question he replied: "What makes you think I invested anything?" Which sound like the words of a bashful investor.
All I got was a DJ's dog, MP reveals
Tessa Munt, the Liberal Democrat MP who was appointed Vince Cable's parliamentary private secretary yesterday, has dealt with at least one character more gaffe-prone, volatile, troubled and charismatic than the Business Secretary. She is an old friend of Andy Kershaw. The DJ even appeared on the electoral register under her Somerset address, when he was in trouble with the courts over the breach of a restraining order in the wake of a bad relationship break-up. She was claiming a single-person's discount off her council tax at the time. No action was taken after she explained that Kershaw was not living there, but had paid a visit and left his dog for her to look after.
With friends like these, Mr Cameron
"Nonsense," was David Cameron's dismissive reaction to comments read out to him during Prime Minister's Questions yesterday by the Labour MP, Sharon Hodgson. And it was pretty gratuitously ad hominem stuff. "The problem," Mrs Hodgson recited, "is that policy is being run by two public schoolboys who don't know what it's like to go to the supermarket and have to put things back on the shelves because they can't afford it for their children's lunchboxes. What's worse, they don't care either." She was reading out remarks made to the Financial Times by the incorrigible Tory MP Nadine Dorries.
Heaven knows he's miserable know
"I probably don't agree with their lead singer, Morrissey, about anything," David Cameron once said, as he explained why he had selected This Charming Man by The Smiths as one of his Desert Island Discs. He went on: "But when he first burst on to the scene on Top of the Pops with flowers hanging out of the back of his trousers and an NHS hearing aid, it was a sort of iconic moment for people of my generation." This week, the 52-year-old singer has demonstrated just how little he and Cameron agree, by telling a crowd of 15,000 in Buenos Aires that "we know" that the Falkland Islands, or Malvinas, belong to Argentina. His band later appeared on stage wearing T-shirts with the slogan "We Hate William and Kate" on a picture of the royal couple on their wedding day.
Tebbit bulldozes the mansion tax
The Lib Dem proposal to introduce a "mansion tax" on £2m homes has not gone down well with former Tory Party chairman Norman Tebbit, whose wife Margaret was crippled when they were caught in the IRA bombing of the Grand Hotel, Brighton, in 1984. "I've got a bigger house than most people," he said on 5 Live. "That's partly because I need it to house two carers to look after my wife. Should I be taxed on the basis that I live in a mansion? I wouldn't bloody well need such a big house if my wife hasn't been nearly murdered by Sinn Fein IRA."