Matthew Norman on Monday: Andy Coulson, Rebekah Brooks and a strange outbreak of mass amnesia

 

Amnesia has many potential causes, and some are more obvious than others. In the 1945 noir classic The Lost Weekend, for example, alcoholism robs Ray Milland of recall, but with the 2010 remake shot at Dorneywood, the memory loss is harder to explain.

All we know is that Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks had a pyjama party at the Chancellor's retreat, and this knowledge gap leaves wiggle room for gossip that the BSkyB bid may have been discussed.

Preposterous. You might just as credibly surmise that when Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin met at Yalta, in the year The Lost Weekend was released, they discussed military matters and the post-war construction of Europe; when in fact, as all decent historians concur, their chat was confined to baseball, borscht recipes, and the musical oeuvre of George Formby. However, since there seems no way of silencing all the silly speculation, I ask this question: was James Murdoch also a cast member of The Lost Weekend 2: This Time It's Catching? James remembers a visit to Dorneywood late in 2010, though naturally not the precise date.

If it was the same weekend as his chief executive and his placeman in No 10, it would hardly cement any growing suspicion that Mr Osborne was the BSkyB organ grinder to Jeremy Hunt's errand boy monkey, but it would be nice to know for the record.

Yet all that is by the by. The central point is this personal plea. Chancellor, for God's sake have someone check the Dorneywood gas fires for a leak. Something must have caused this outbreak of mass amnesia, and potentially fatal carbon monoxide poisoning should be investigated without delay.

Nadine's self-belief

 

Passing mention of a wartime leader brings us to our most beloved Tory backbencher, Nadine Dorries, who despite reportedly being bullied by Mr Osborne's playground thugs, seems unriven by self-doubt.

"People used to talk about him in the corridors and laugh about him," Nadine tells the FT, while carefully avoiding a direct comparison with Winston Churchill.

"He was ridiculed. . . he was a lone voice in the House of Commons."

Publishers interested in my biography, Nadine: The Wilderness Years, may begin the bidding war forthwith.

 

Heights of novelty

I hate to be the buzz kill, but if you thought the dancing dog raised the talent show-winning bar to an unscalable height of novelty, what were you thinking?

On the night Ashleigh and Pudsey won our version, self-styled "magic mentalist" Christian Gog took Romania's Got Talent after strapping himself to a heart monitor and reducing his pulse rate to zero (or "death" as we doctors call the condition). Simon Cowell, raise your game.

James to be rattled by Sugar...

Returning to James Murdoch, a resolutely undenied rumour says this. In a bid to relaunch his corporate career from a level better suited to his competence, James has applied for The Apprentice 2013.

The old business relationship between his father and Alan Sugar (satellite dishes) apparently concerns the production company, but this is cobblers. If there's one thing to which the Murdoch brand is invulnerable, it's the charge of nepotism. We wish James, right, luck, but must note that William Hill gives an ante post quote of 11-4 against him being fired in week two, after childcare duties prevent him reading an email warning that his masterplan to sell babies' rattles coated with depleted uranium might run into health and safety issues.

Meanwhile, with sales of The Sun on Sunday declining sharply by the week, I reprise this SOS for members of that young title's disloyal army of ex-readers who missed yesterday's page 2 announcement.

The Fabulous Travel Hairdryer, as offered free of charge via coupons in previous editions, has been recalled on the absurdly alarmist grounds that "there is a risk of personal injury and even electrocution". Fabulous is the old News of the World magazine, you will recall (though not if you happen to be Rebekah, Andy, James M or George Osborne), now incorporated into The Sun. Contagion? What contagion?

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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

COO / Chief Operating Officer

£80 - 100k + Bonus: Guru Careers: A COO / Chief Operating Officer is needed to...

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world