Matthew Norman on Monday: A very appropriate concession to the Lib Dem leader

 

With "isolated Little Britain" wartime analogies more inescapable than ever, thoughts turn to the observation of Sir Archibald Clark Kerr, our wartime ambassador to the USSR, who in April 1943 wrote to a Foreign Office friend that "in these dark days man tends to look for little shafts of light that spill from Heaven".

How true is this, and while Sir Archibald had the discovery that his new Turkish counterpart in Moscow was a certain Mustapha Kunt to cheer him up, we have Downing Street's celestial grasp of satirical timing to raise the spirits.

And so to the new Nick Clegg feature, The Quisling Quiz. Fingers on buzzers, please, here we go. Which two policy triumphs has David Cameron this particular moment to grant to Mr Clegg, left, apparently to help assuage Liberal Democrats unthrilled with recent developments in Brussels?" Anyone? No one? Well, these twin Cleggian coups concern a) forced marriage, and b) psychological domestic violence (criminalising those who bully and abuse partners without beating them up).

Far from helping Mr Clegg, of course, this double gift to cartoonists can only be designed to underscore that he is our best-known bullied prisoner of a forced marriage; and how he suffers appalling abuse from a partner who, having refused to take him to a wife-swapping party, rings from it at 4am screaming: "I've just obliterated your career, you slaaaag, so whatcha gonna do about that then?"

The answer is clear. Even now, someone is preparing the Vidkun Cleggling Suite at the Erin Pizzey Hostel for Abused Political Wives. We wish him a happy respite, and the very best of isolated British luck with whatever he decides to do with his life when he gets out.

Blunkett scores a Brooks bonus

Laureate of squealing self-pity that he is, David Blunkett rarely fails to whine about any unflattering reference. So I won't dwell on reports that he took a "substantial" payoff, arranged by his drinking chum Rebekah Brooks, to keep schtum about having his phone hacked; or wonder aloud whether some former socialist leaders of Sheffield Council might have preferred publicly challenging this questionable behaviour, John Prescott-fashion, to mute self-enrichment. But touch wood he invested the dosh wisely, rather than blew the lot (though not champagne which no more agrees with him than anyone in possession of their senses) at Annabel's.

In the nick of time ... and solitude

Blunkers and Rebekah memorably supped together a few hours before her then husband Ross Kemp, TV's Hardest Man, summoned police to their Battersea home over the sort of incident that may fall under Mr Clegg's new domestic law. We now learn that the then Sun editor, keen to avoid an odiously intrusive press, took advice from Bell Pottinger about which police station to attend. Who guessed you can pick your own nick? It's the consumer society gone mad.

Bell's rant at me rings hollow

Speaking of that lobbying firm, I am sent to bed with a fit of the vapours by an attack from its chairman Tim Bell, if he'll pardon the familiarity (Baron Bell-End, to borrow from Debrett's, if he won't). "He is a very unpleasant man," Tim told the London Evening Standard after a comment piece on his firm's questionable ethics, "he has some axe to grind against me." Few would dispute the first bit. But so far as the second, Tim's imagination fails him if he thinks anyone needs a personal animus to find him gruesome and his ennoblement baffling. Now do pipe down, Bell-End, and crack on with removing any reference to this scandal from the first page of a Bell Pottinger search on Google.

The Lady is for turning

Sad news from the The Lady. The feud between magazine's editor, Rachel Johnson, and its Lady Bracknell-ish owner, Julia Budworth, has ended with the latter handbagging the former into oblivion. Or as Boris's sister puts it, "I have promoted myself upstairs" into an editor-in-chief, sit-quietly-in-the-corner-until-your-notice-period-is-up role. I suppose this re-run of the 1990 World Cup final between Germany and Argentina – the tragedy being that there had to be a winner – had to end some time. But so soon?

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

HR Business Partner (Maternity Cover 12 Months)

£30000 - £34000 Per Annum 25 days holiday, Private healthcare: Clearwater Peop...

Project Manager (Procurement & Human Resources)

Unpaid: Cancer Research UK: If you’re a professional in project management, lo...

Geography Teacher

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We require a teacher of Geogr...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star