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
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 - West London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment & HR Administrator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Business Partner

£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...

Recruitment Genius: Senior HR Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company's vision is to be t...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy