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
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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: Bookkeeper

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the world's leading suppliers and manuf...

Recruitment Genius: Multiple Apprentices Required

£6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Apprentices are required to join a privat...

Sauce Recruitment: HR Manager

£40000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: This is an exciting opportunity for a HR...

Ashdown Group: Interim HR Manager - 3 Month FTC - Henley-on-Thames

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established organisation oper...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee