Matthew Norman's Diary: Rooting for you, Gaunty

Keep that yellow ribbon round the old oak tree, at least for a few more days until we learn whether the High Court will spring my old friend Jon Gaunt from captivity at the hands of the PC brigade. His challenge to Ofcom's censure of his wontedly restrained description of a councillor as a "Nazi", downgraded swiftly to "health Nazi", for defending a ban on smokers fostering children, will be decided this week.

In the meantime, Gaunty's internet radio vehicle SunTalk continues to host a daily World Cup show featuring Ron Atkinson. Big Ron was hired in April, you will recall, to replace Eugene Terre'Blanche, who breached a contractual term by getting himself murdered on his farm near Ventersdorp, South Africa

* For a while now the big boys and girls of political commentary, not least the retiring Times heavyweight Peter Riddell, have driven themselves mad with this question: upon which precise template were those robotic life forms the Milibandroids built? It is therefore my pleasure to resolve the issue today.

Reports last week that the boys have started the infantile leadership bickering no one could have predicted establish beyond dispute that David and Ed were modelled on the brothers Crane in Frasier. The parallels between the nerdy metrosexuals from Seattle and their Labour impersonators couldn't be more obvious.

Frasier, the elder by a few years, royally patronises little Niles, who resentfully challenges the condescension whenever possible. Fans of the sitcom will find "Whine Club", the episode in which the Cranes campaign against each other for the leadership of their wine club, especially instructive. Niles comes from behind to pip Frasier to the coveted post of Corkmaster. In a distressing omen of how farce history may repeat itself as farce, Frasier is too outraged by this challenge to his sense of entitlement to himself to remain in the club under his baby brother's aegis. He resigns and the two disown one another until their dad bullies them into making up.

With the Milibands' father Ralph long gone, the role of parental peacemaker will necessarily fall to their mum. Marion, love, brace yourself. The day approaches.



* As for the man the Miliboys hope to succeed – I much enjoyed Brian Brady's futile hunt for Gordon Brown as described in yesterday's IoS. The elusive former PM is apparently holed up in his Kircaldy house, writing furiously, although Brian could find little concrete evidence of this. All anyone seems to know is that in the month since Parliament reconvened, Gordon has been sighted there just the once.

One hates to kick a man when he's down – although it's generally safer than when he's up – but on what conceivable basis is Gordon entitled to pocket his MP's salary of more than a grand a week if he is doing not a stroke of work either at Westminster or by holding surgeries in Kircaldy?

Somehow, hours away from George Osborne breaking bad news to many on benefits, this seems an odd time for Gordon to be illustrating that, even after expenses, the job of MP remains a sinecure.

* Enough has been already been written about the abysmal quality of World Cup telly punditry, with Mick McCarthy besting even Alan Shearer with his flawless take on a 1957 Leeds grammar school PE teacher in a particularly grumpy mood on his first day back in the gym after a partial lobotomy. So it's a real pleasure to hail the clear highlight across all networks and media. Robbie Savage is simply brilliant on Radio 5 Live. Articulate, mischievous and very funny, Robbie will be red-carded by the Guild of Football Soothsayers soon for speaking his mind without a thought for future friction when he runs into the objects of his scorn at functions.

As for Adrian Chiles, the Atlas of ITV miraculously continues to keep that network's coverage aloft on those broad Brummie shoulders, despite the grievous loss of Robbie "Tout of Africa" (© The Sun) Earle. "Cheer up, we're still unbeaten!" as the final whistle blessedly called time on the Algeria extravaganza was a (Des) Lynamic stroke of laconic wit.



* News Corporation's attempt to buy a majority stake in Sky TV is very bracing. When Rupert Murdoch raises his offer – though why he should have to is beyond me – the deal will doubtless be waved through, establishing Jeremy Hunt as a typically fearless Culture Secretary when it comes to the strict application of competition law in a Murdocratic context. The sooner Rupert and James get to grips with Sky's legendary customer service ethos, and enable us to see a repairs engineer within two weeks without going through the wearying process of threatening to jump ship to Virgin, the happier we'll all be.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Recruitment Genius: Project Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This privately-owned company designs and manuf...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions