Matthew Norman on Monday: Forget about Ken for London Mayor, vote for Eddie Izzard


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The Independent Online

Every now and then in the life of a blighted political campaign, a comical fiasco extinguishes the flickering flame of hope. For Ken Livingstone Inc (company mission statement: pay tax as I say, not as I do), it surely arrived when Bob "Carrion" Crow dipped his beak into the decaying flesh of his mayoral ambitions.

What possessed the RMT leader to threaten Boris Johnson with a libel writ for placing his name alongside a picture of Ken on a campaign poster is hard to be sure. The heart says Bob truly believes that for the RMT to be associated with Ken, whom Bob recently called "a good bloke" without apparent ironic intent, is defamatory. The head wonders about rancor engendered by Ken declining Bob's offer to fund his campaign.

Whatever the truth, the falling-out of brothers, to general amusement, is never good news, as Ed Miliband will agree, and this one seems poorly designed to reverse Ken's tax avoidance-inspired collapse in the polls. With six weeks until the vote, Little Ed must be fantasising about inveigling Ken to stand aside for a viable candidate. One name springs to mind. Eddie has spoken of his dream to be Labour's Mayor of London for ages (since taking umbrage with Dick Whittington, in fact, for proposing a cross-dressing tax), and one cannot put these things off forever. I would vote for him, early and often, and you would too. Who doesn't love Eddie Izzard? He'd be a dead cert to bury Boris beneath a landslide on the "You've had four years of an amateur comedian... now it's time for a pro!" ticket.


Oy vey! What will they think of next?


Bracing to note Channel 4's canny response to criticism of its penchant for lazy stereotyping. Following Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, below, stand by for the autumnal ratings banker Jewish Mum Of The Year. Among the gruelling tasks facing the candidates will be cooking, knowledge of their children (technically, interfering in their lives), and of course matchmaking. Contestants are advised to moan "already 23, and does she show any sign of settling down?" every two minutes, and to patrol the sitting room kvetching at Hymie for sitting on the sofa when they've only just finished plumping up the cushions. "The winner is out there somewhere in the land of the Jewish princesses and pampered Bar Mitzvah boys," reads a cliché-busting press release, "and no strudel will be left unturned in this quest..." On the strength of this masterstoke, C4 boss David Abraham must be on the short-list.


D-G must have dart at Jocky mystery


Whoever becomes D-G must announce an inquiry into the greatest conundrum in Beeb history: the mystery of whether that giant photo of Jocky Wilson, left, which appeared behind Dexy's Midnight Runners, as they performed "Jackie Wilson Said" on Top of the Pops, was cock up or conspiracy. Jocky will be remembered as much for his unwitting role in that as for his toothless grin and the majesty of his darts.


Another soul for Sentamu to save


John Sentamu steps up his mission to save Sun readers' souls. Not content with his riveting Sunday Service column, on Wednesday the Archbishop of York chipped in a piece sourcing Fabrice Muamba's survival to the power of prayer, and relating how a word of his in the Almighty's shell-like sent a cancer-stricken parishioner with three weeks to live into spontaneous remission. As he prosecutes his studiedly unpopulist campaign for Canterbury, we remind Sentamu that Dick Cheney is a hero of Rupert Murdoch's. Nothing would delight the papal knight like a prayer in the next column for the adorable Cheney's heart not to reject him.


The latest political potty mouth


Hallelujah! A worthy rival at last to Nadine Dorries' title of Most Gravitas-Laden Tory MP. Claire Perry, pictured, the potty-mouthed member for Devizes who enlivened a debate by advising her Europhobic colleague Douglas Carswell to "f*** off and join UKIP", explains herself to the Sunday Times.

"My feeling is always, if you've got something to say," she remarks of her rebuke to Douglas for chivvying the government, "say it in private". Definitely one to watch.