Media Diary: Lembit-watchers had advance warning of Laws's downfall

Poignant and depressing though David Laws' resignation on Saturday night certainly was, at least it was less a shock than it might have been. The pre-emptive warning came on Saturday afternoon when a former colleague waded into the debate with a contribution headlined: "Opik: No question of Laws resigning". Ah well – we Lembit-watchers thought on seeing this – that's that for the ascetic member for Yeovil. It was Lembit who insisted Charles Kennedy would survive until the moment he resigned; Lembit who then became Mark Oaten's campaign manager (quite an accolade given that he was the only Lib Dem MP to back him); and Lembit, the seer of seers, who then switched allegiance to Simon Hughes. The sadness is that had Lembit only clung on his Montgomeryshire seat on 6 May he'd have been in line to replace Danny Alexander as Scottish Secretary ... and might from there have replicated the Alexander book by swiftly ascending to Cheek Secretary to the Treasury. But now what for the asteroid paranoiac? Lembit, it seems, has been hired by a gambling syndicate to go through the cards in difficult handicaps. His job, as you may have guessed, will be to tip all but one of the field.



Renaissance man

For the first instalment of derivative feature Half A Day In The Life, we turn to Stephen Fry. A week ago, my fellow darts-obsessive was Sky Sports's guest at Wembley Arena, making an impressive commentary-box debut alongside the great Sid Waddell before presenting Phil "The Taylor" Power with the Premier League trophy, and bashfully glorying in the freshly minted crowd chant, "Stephen Fry, My Lord, Stephen Fry" (to the tune of "Kumbaya"). Within 12 hours, Stephen was on Tuesday's Today, meanwhile, discussing his mixed feelings about Richard Wagner, about which he made a BBC4 documentary.

In fact, the two interests are less incompatible than they might seem. It was only after watching his friend Helmut Jookhiller lose the Bavarian Proto-Nazi Open final after his match dart bounced out off the metallic circle bit around the bull that Wagner came up with the name Ring Cycle.

And Big Cliff Lazarenko once took the part of Wotan at Glyndebourbe, of course, to some critical acclaim. Even so, Stephen's was the finest display of renaissance manhood since Leonardo designed the submarine, painted Mona Lisa and invented spaghetti carbonara all on the same Tuscan morning.

Dave and darts

Incidentally, darts has a still more glittering celeb fan opportunity. David Cameron is another lover of arrows. As viewers of C4's When Boris Met Dave will recall, it was watching rank outsider Keith Deller win the 1983 world title that instilled the underdog stoicism that later saw him come for nowhere to steal the Tory leadership from David Davis. If PDC darts chairman Barry Hearn isn't peppering No 10 with invitations to the World Championship final in the New Year, he'd be daft. And Mr Hearn is not daft.



Amis et amis

Mr Deller was also an inspiration for Martin Amis, who modeled anti-hero Keith Talent on the lairy Suffolk chucker. However, it's to Amis Père that Paul Johnson turns his attention in his new memoir serialised in the Daily Mail. Although he generally approved of Kingsley, Paul identifies him as "not a normal man", and on this he speaks with authority. Lovers of the sleb confessional will richly enjoy a book in which the ribald octogenarian, better than ever in his anecdotage, drops names as Bomber Harris dropped bombs on Dresden. I don't wish to spoil the fun, so this intro to one of so many hilarious reminiscences must suffice. "Comedian Frankie Howerd was sitting opposite me at a dinner given by newspaper owner Robert Maxwell ..." Perhaps next week we will dip into some recollections that didn't make the Mail cut ... the night at Tallulah Bankhead's, perhaps, when Paul reduced Scott Fitzgerald to helpless giggles by lecturing Flaubert on the inadequacy of his prose.



Kangaroo court

For Andrew Wakefield, all is not lost. There were concerns that Melanie Phillips, quiet for too long about the MMR-autism link she championed, would never return to the scene of that triumph. Yet within a day of Mr Wakefield being struck off, Mad Mel blogged a piece headlined "A travesty, and a tragedy", dismissing the General Medical Council hearing as a "risible kangaroo court" (well they did rather rush to judgment; the enquiry didn't begin until 2007). She hopes eventually to reveal "the full story of how this sinister travesty was accomplished". Holding of the breath is not, as GMC cardio-vascular guidelines suggest, recommended. But MM remains game as a kipper, and you have to love the crop-haired dumpling for that.



The outsiders

An educational detail causes a shift in the market on the new BBC political editor (even if Nick Robinson suggests he's going nowhere). News that Nick's deputy James Landale attended Eton at just the time Boris was meeting Dave sees him installed as 9-4 favourite, ahead of Jon Sopel and Cher on 8-1. Sid Waddell, Martha Kearney, Laura Kuenssberg and Metal Mickey are bracketed on 18-1, but Adam Boulton has drifted out to 33s on rumours he's been expelled from his anger management course after a scrap with fellow student James "Buster" Murdoch. William Hill offers this intriguing bet. You can have 20-1 about Mr Landale sharing the job with Matt Frei, the Beeb's star man in the US, who went to Westminster. As for Lembit Opik, he was seen in a Newcastle Ladbroke's on Friday lumping a monkey on the late Walter Kronkite.

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

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...

Surrey County Council: Senior Project Officer (Fixed Term to Feb 2019)

£26,498 - £31,556: Surrey County Council: We are looking for an outgoing, conf...

Recruitment Genius: Interim Head of HR

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources and Payroll Administrator

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower