Diary: YouTube gold as BBC query sends Oliver round the twist


A superb video went up on YouTube yesterday, a revelation to anyone who has never witnessed a real life spin-doctor haranguing a journalist.

Craig Oliver, a former BBC executive who now spins for David Cameron, did not swear like Malcolm Tucker, but he was hectoring and unreasonable as he berated the BBC's Norman Smith for suggesting that newspaper headlines generated by the Leveson revelations are a problem for the Prime Minister.

He also wielded that favourite spin-doctor line of telling the reporter that he had gone over his head to complain to his boss – in this case Gavin Allen, editor of BBC Westminster. Norman Smith tried patiently to reply but that was not to be allowed. As he was in mid sentence, his assailant turned and marched back into 10 Downing Street.

One thing that puzzled some people who saw it was how anyone of Oliver's background could overlook the risk of being caught on camera in a place where the cameras never sleep. Actually, the spinners often go out and have words with the reporters in Downing Street, ignoring the cameras. "We don't usually expect the conversations to go up on YouTube," one explained.

After a few hours, the video was mysteriously taken down. Both the BBC and Downing Street deny being responsible for suppressing it. But the blogger Guido Fawkes did a service for broadcasting freedom by preserving a copy, which can still be watched and enjoyed.


Redcar shortlist is Mo laughing matter

The Middlesbrough Gazette reports that an unnamed member of the Redcar Labour Party has accused party organisation of insulting the memory of the town's most celebrated former MP, Mo Mowlam, by telling them that their next parliamentary candidate will have to be selected from an all-women shortlist.

"It takes away the reason she won the seat – she won it because she was the best person for the job," the anonymous complainant claims. "I am absolutely disgusted that the choice for the next MP for Redcar is being taken out of the hands of the local party members and being made by faceless technocrats in London."

It seems that in 25 years, things have turned a full circle. What happened in 1987 was that Redcar's sitting MP suddenly announced that he was pulling out, after the general election had been called. The party had to cobble together a shortlist very quickly, and came up with the names of three men who lived in the town. At this point a "faceless technocrat" from the party's national headquarters ruled that they couldn't have an all-male shortlist, and the name of Mo Mowlam, who had no previous link with Redcar, was added in haste.


Eric's all a-Twitter over Russian song

Among the many punters rooting for the Russian entrants in the Eurovision song contest was Eric Joyce, the two-fisted MP for Falkirk, who tweeted: "Vlad's Grans/Angels MUST win. OR YOU KNOW WHAT'S GONNA HAPPENSKI" And as several Tories well know, he is not a guy whose threats should be taken lightly.


Sir Peter Blake is finally on the make

The pop artist Sir Peter Blake tells the Radio Times that he is earning a secure living from printmaking and has three properties with a combined value of more than £1m, but also reveals that, as recently as 2007, there were bailiffs rapping at his door. "Five years ago I was totally broke. It was to do with tax," he said.

"I had no cash and no way to earn it. My credit cards were refused and bailiffs turned up at the house. I was very upset."

I'm not surprised he was upset. In 1967, he designed the iconic cover of The Beatles album, Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, for which his agent negotiated a flat fee of £200, with no royalties – something which, he says, he does not resent "any more".


Noble Elizabeth still Raikes in the cash

In these straitened times it was noble of the £151,000-a-year chief executive of Torbay Council, Elizabeth Raikes, to volunteer to step down so that someone else could be found to do the job for less money.

All that remained was to agree her pay off. She will receive £133,000, it was announced yesterday. What a sacrifice.

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

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...

Surrey County Council: Senior Project Officer (Fixed Term to Feb 2019)

£26,498 - £31,556: Surrey County Council: We are looking for an outgoing, conf...

Recruitment Genius: Interim Head of HR

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources and Payroll Administrator

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn