Andy McSmith's Diary: After Ukip pain, Tories tread gently around Nadine Dorries

 

As the Tories absorb the consequences of last week's local election results, some of them have apparently arrived at the brilliant solution that the first thing they must do is be nice to Nadine Dorries.

Their fear is that the wayward former Tory MP, cast out for the offence of not warning the whips in advance of her appearance on I'm a Celebrity, will join Ukip. She is due to meet the Chief Whip, Sir George Young, this week, but it is unlikely that she will undertake not to create trouble in future, making it difficult for Sir George to persuade the occupants of 10 and 11 Downing Street, whom she memorably described as "arrogant posh boys" that she has done her time.

Tim Montgomie, founder of the Conservative Home website, who is well plugged in, says that there are alternative plans to convene a tribunal of three backbench MPs who would have the power to restore her to the party whether Downing Street like it or not, under a rule change introduced eight years ago. That would put off the day when Ukip get their first foothold in the Commons since the defecting Tory MP Bob Spink joined them briefly in 2008, but it would be two fingers to the 'posh boys'.

---

A whole page of the Times was taken up by an advertisement signed simply with the name 'Martin', which was an open letter to David Cameron and George Osborne from a disillusioned Conservative voter. 'Martin' was thoroughly checked out by News International, which owns The Times, to make sure they were not being taken in by a party political stunt. They satisfied themselves that he is just one individual - but an individual with money to spare, because the rate for an advertisement of that size, on a news page, is £16,645.

---

In an excerpt from the memoirs of that irascible columnist Melanie Phillips, published in the Daily Mail last week, she complained of being "the target of deepest hatred" from the left, citing the example of someone - unnamed - who in an "extreme spasm of hyperbole" accused her of eating broken bottles and killing rats with her teeth.

But who could have written such a thing? I am grateful to Private Eye's Francis Wheen for tracing the culprit. It was Nicholas Lezard writing in The Independent on 5 December 2011, when he referred to "Melanie Phillips, who started out as a Guardian herbivore and now, like Bertie Wooster's Aunt Agatha, eats broken bottle and kills rats with her teeth."

Mel, old stick, it's a joke.

---

If it is true that the ghost of Sid James haunts the Sunderland Empire, there will be a rattling and a howling in the building tonight because it is his 100th birthday. Born in South Africa on 8 May 1913, the old Carry On star met a fitting end. His gambling addiction made him so desperate for money that he took a part in a low grade comedy on Wearside at the age of 62, when his health was dodgy.  He was sitting on the sofa with the actress with the actress Olga Lowe, when he missed his cue. The audience thought that the slow realisation and horror with which she reacted was part of the show, and laughed even after the curtain had come down and the call had gone out to ask if there was a doctor in the house. The theatre manager rang the show's producer, Bill Robertson to break the news, exclaiming: "Sid James has just died in Sunderland" - to which Robertson replied, calmly: "Don't worry: everybody dies in Sunderland."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

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 General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?