Woolas dismisses young Muslim's views as 'crap'

The Government reacts tetchily to suggestions that British foreign policy has anything to do with the rise in radicalism among young Muslims.

When Muslim leaders wrote an open letter a fortnight ago suggesting just that, Foreign Office minister Kim Howells and Home Secretary John Reid fell over one another to condemn the comments as "irrational" and " facile".

The Communities minister, Phil Woolas, has taken up the baton at Bolton Wanderers Football Club, dismissing a young Muslim woman's views as "a load of crap".

Woolas, launching the Government's "tackling extremism" roadshow, got into a heated 10-minute discussion with Komal Adris, 27, there on behalf of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee.

"I told him that foreign policy was a real concern of mine," explains Adris. "He suggested I had an extremist view and my concerns were illegitimate. I accused him of patronising me."

Civil servants tried to usher Woolas away - to no avail. The minister snapped: "That's a load of crap," before walking off.

I call the Department for Communities and Local Government, expecting a robust denial - but no. "Ministers can't win," says a spokeswoman. "They are criticised for not being straight-talking and there are those who frequently say far worse about government and politicians.

"This was a full and frank exchange - but that is a good thing, that is what genuine dialogue is about." Adris wants an apology.

Simon says that the joke's on you, Jimmy

Expect the Vatican to announce the Pope's conversion to Buddhism and bears to begin using public conveniences: Jimmy Carr has been silenced.

The comic has recently been derided by new kid on the circuit, Simon Amstell, incoming presenter of Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

Their paths crossed awkwardly last week. Amstell tells me after a stand-up gig: "Jimmy doesn't like me calling him a homophobe and a racist, or doing a joke about him being set on fire. Unfortunately, I tried it with other comedians' names and it didn't work.

"What can I say? Audiences like it."

Carr snacks on hecklers during shows like a troll on goats. Expecting a lethally deadpan riposte to Amstell's slur, I call him.

"Simon is a brilliant comic," he replies, "and if you dish it out, you've got to be able to take it."

But to take it lying down, Jimmy!

Neil keeps it all in check

Entering into correspondence with readers is a joy of the job, so I am delighted to hear that Neil and Christine Hamilton wrote Pandora into their Edinburgh show. Christine is "fuming" about my report of their champagne-charged midnight chat show, which featured ladyboys from Bangkok and men in skimpy red bondage attire whipping the former MP and his wife.

"The article in The Independent said we were merry - a terrible euphemism - when we'd hardly had a glass," raged Christine to audience members at the weekend. "That journalist obviously has no stamina himself."

Neil was then fitted with a kilt in Hamilton tartan, onstage. "Maybe I should take my pants off?" he suggested. "No!" the audience shrieked back.

Neil Hamilton wears navy check pants.

Dirty digs

How ungrateful ex-employees can be. Tony Blair's former head of policy at Number 10, Geoff Mulgan, has fired an off-message salvo at Rupert Murdoch.

"How can the public engage with democracy when they have Murdoch et al feeding them lies?" he demands, lamenting the Australian media tycoon's "distorted" view of the world and the "malign power" he wields over New Labour.

Mulgan's public comments are increasingly unwelcome in Downing Street. Last year he described the relationship between Blair and Gordon Brown as " painful".

He criticised John Prescott during Croquetgate in May, and in June he praised David Cameron. Rats and sinking ships?

Sharp new way of taming hacks

News of an intriguing find amid the dusty artefacts uncovered when Lobby journalists were shunted from their old offices in the Palace of Westminster, to allow renovation.

No jokes about political columnists, thank you very much. The discovery is, in fact, a genuine Maori spear, donated to British hacks by the New Zealand press gallery some decades ago. "It is six feet long, beaded and bloody sharp, with a smiling face painted on the tip," I'm told.

MPs will be relieved to know the lance is now out of journos' hands, propped against the filing cabinet of Elizabeth Johnson, the Lobby administrator. "Elizabeth marched past wielding this thing like a woman on a mission," says an onlooker. "It was terrifying." A novel way of keeping errant scribes in check.

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

HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...

HR Manager - HR Generalist / Sole in HR

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - HR Generalis...

Business Analyst - Banking - London - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Banking - People Change - Lond...

HR Manager - Milton Keynes - £50,000 + package

£48000 - £50000 per annum + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Shared...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home