Matthew Norman on Monday: The future may be nauseous, but Rupert's feeling chipper
Greater love hath no media superman, as Jeremy Thorpe almost put it of Harold Macmillan, than that he lay down his newspapers for his corporate life. If News International employees awoke to the news of Rupert Murdoch's resignation yesterday feeling nauseous about the future, those who turned to his Twitter account for a show of regret were wasting their time.
Then again, it might have consoled them to find Rupert so chipper. "Champagne on ice," he tweeted of Bradley Wiggins's imminent win for Team Sky, though not a dickie bird about his decision to pedal away from his papers.
Let's be not too bleak, though. Who knows, perhaps Rupert plans to use his private fortune to create a trust that will protect the titles, or to subsidise management buyouts on favourable terms. The idea that he would blithely leave The Sun prey to a takeover by Richard Desmond, and abandon The Times and The Sunday Times to take their grim chances on the open market, is unthinkable.
Time will tell how he intends to repay his staff for their loyalty to him. But how typical of the old monster that his final, formal removal from national life, for so long anticipated as the cue to uncork the iced champagne and party, leaves in its wake only confusion and dread.
As comedians and Vince Cable know, timing is everything
Comedy, as the stand-up Arnold Brown used to say, is all about timing ("I'm here tonight, you're here tonight ... that's timing!"). The same goes for combat politics, so what a joy to find Dr Cable adding a feel for Jungian synchronicity to his other talents. Vince chose the very day when the media titan on whom he once declared war raised the white flag to unveil his leadership ambitions in an FT interview. Nick Clegg's supporters put it about that he will stand aside for nobody, and bless them for that. Vince's coming to get you, Nick, ready or nooo-oohtt.
Mystery of Blair and the Murdoch Christening
Resolved at last, meanwhile, is a mystery surrounding the tasteful Christening of the Murdoch daughters. It seems that Mr Tony Blair did not go AWOL when the Hello! snapper went to work by the banks of the Jordan. While the mag courteously agreed not to publish any snaps of Mr T in his white robes, a snap of him in these very garments is on prominent display in the London flat of the Australian actor Hugh Jackman (real name: Wolverine), a fellow godfather.
Reasons for a return to power for Tony Blair
With Mr Tony's prospective return to public life attracting the usual nastiness from the cynics and sneerers, a biographer looks on the bright side. "He'd love it," says Anthony Seldon of a Blairite restoration as PM. "He could then lay the ghost of Iraq to rest, complete the agenda that Gordon buggered up – and it would give him something to do." It would, wouldn't it?
This is the most compelling reason advanced for a return to high office since Mr Blair himself recalled David Blunkett to the cabinet, on the grounds that dealing with the worst pensions crisis history would "help him to sort his head out".
A concept that may be beyond Jeremy Clarkson's grasp
"According to figures out this week," writes Jeremy Clarkson in The Sun, "the average adult sends 200 texts a month. Plainly, they never spoke to my eldest daughter about this." Why Jeremy, of all people, struggles with what it means to be average is anyone's guess, but let's try to explain it in terms he can grasp.
If a cretinous show-off drives a Bugatti at 245mph for two hours on an autobahn, while 999 other drivers stick to a respectable 90, the average comes down to 90.16mph. Similarly, if the BBC pays a bison-headed presenter £3m a year and another 199 freelance staff £150,000, the average falls to £164,250. So then, if your eldest daughter sends 1,900 texts per month while nine non-relatives each send just 100, the average is not 1,900, but 200. I hope this helps.
The problem with a Wham! reunion at the Olympics
Recent reports about a Wham! reunion caused anxiety at Olympics HQ. If the undenied gossip about George and Andrew being lined up for the closing ceremony is correct, they may be allowed only one of their original backing singers. Shirley will be most welcome. However, according to Lord Coe, Pepsi will "probably" not be allowed inside the Olympic Park.
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