Matthew Norman on Monday: A Ukip alliance? Murdoch may have news for Leveson...


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Here's one to file under the header of Idiotic Predictions Not Worth a Second Thought, assuming it merits a first thought, but is Rupert Murdoch preparing to put The Sun's electoral weight behind Ukip?

On the eve of his Leveson appearance (please, God, let the Ernest Saunders Memorial Dementia take a holiday this time), we find him encircling an ailing Government and tweeting pecks at its flesh like an impatient vulture. On Saturday, he described the Chancellor's £10bn IMF loan as "mad" ... a nuanced analysis multiply repeated, by eeriest happenstance, in yesterday's Sun.

It now seems inconceivable that he will back David Cameron in a general election, and given that he has warmed to neither Ed Miliband nor the Lib Dems, this leaves two options. He must either order The Sun to abstain or come out for Nigel Farage, who best reflects his feelings on Europe, in a brazen effort to avenge himself on the entire political establishment and shift those tectonic plates. The Sun's coverage of the local elections will make an intriguingly ominous read.

Joyce's shot at being TV's Hardest Man ...

Concern grows that Ross Kemp (Ross Wade as was) will face a challenger for the coveted constitutional title of TV's Hardest Man, which he has retained since summoning police to protect him from then missus Rebekah during the domestic of 2005. "At that point, I saw red," the disgraced MP Eric Joyce tells The Mail on Sunday of his retaliation on being asked to hush by Tory drinkers. "I thumped them with my fist and my head – not with massive viciousness, but enough to sting." Deploying the Glasgow Kiss as a mild warning ... now that really is hard. The sooner an enterprising Channel 4 executive sends him to Afghanistan to bother our troops, the better for us all. Except Ross.

... but Galloway lands the knock-out blow

Hopes that Labour outcast Eric Joyce might be snapped up by Respect sadly fade. "None whatsoever," George Galloway tells parliamentary journal The House when asked if he has any sympathy for his fellow Scot. "He's another victim of the curse of Galloway. So many ... enemies of mine, from Eric Joyce to Hosni Mubarak, have ended up in trouble." George is waging his own battle for an office befitting his stature and, if denied one, threatens to occupy the Central Lobby. "I'll set up an office with a trestle table there. So I hope they receive this message and sort it out." They would be wise to do so. As the whipless member for Falkirk, the ousted dictator of Egypt and others have learned, it seldom pays to pick a fight with George.

Read Reid's lips: we're all innocents abroad

Another who could confirm this, if he ever relocates his larynx, is John Reid, whose lights boyhood boxer George reveals he'd have put out during a 1991 fist fight over the Gulf War, but for an intervention by Diane Abbott. With the scandal of the Blair government's complicity in torture gathering strength, Jack Straw has at least placed his "no comment" on the record (he'd love a natter, honest, if only he wasn't being privately prosecuted by Abdel Belhaj over his rendition to Tripoli). Yet Reidy, Home Secretary while Mr Tony and the gang were apparently helping Gaddafi round up dissidents, cannot even return reporters' calls.

Has he forgotten the inspiring message of Wind Beneath My Wings, the Bette Midler ballad with which he used to serenade dinner guests to his own piano accompaniment? "Did you ever know that my hero?/ You're everything I wish I could be/ I could fly higher than an eagle/ For you are the wind beneath my wings." Come on, everyone, sing up and help the good "doctor" to reclaim his voice.

Warning: shadow Chancellor in tights

Ed Balls was on sprightly form on Radio 5 Live before yesterday's London Marathon. "I've never done an interview in Lycra tights before," confessed the shadow Chancellor. "I've not exposed myself yet, I'll do that in half an hour." A delicious image. "They say it's a marathon, not a sprint," added Ed, "and that's right." If only he could lavish that gift for demystifying on macroecomics.

Cameron falls short in US

Gratifying to note the Prime Minister reaping instant reward from his triumphant trip to the US. In Time's list of the world's 100 most influential people, there among an elite corps of leaders, including Nigeria's Goodluck Jonathan, proudly sits David Cam ... What's that, he doesn't? Nowhere? Betterluck David, for next year.