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.

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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

East15 Acting School: Finance and Contracts Officer

£20,781 to £24,057 per annum: East15 Acting School: The post involves general ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: A mainstream Secondary school in C...

Austen Lloyd: Practice / HR Manager - Somerset

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A rare and exciting opportunity for a Practice...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company provides global satellite communi...

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks