Andy McSmith's Diary: Blair milks Milken for $1m charity donation

 

It has been a long time since Michael Milken’s name was news in this country. He was the 1980s Junk Bond King, who piled up untold wealth in the boom years, but came to grief at the end of the decade when he copped a ten-year jail sentence, a $200m fine and a permanent ban on dealing in securities, after  pleading guilty to six felonies, in what was then the biggest fraud case in the history of the US securities industry.

The sentence was later reduced to two years. Since his release, he has reinvented himself as a philanthropist, contributing huge sums to medical research. The Wall Street Journal reports that the star guest at the annua l Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills this week was Tony Blair.

The former Prime Minister was asked about a number of topics, including his time as a wannabe rock star, at Oxford University, when he was lead singer for a band called Ugly Rumours.

He told Michael Milken: “I think one of the great experiences you should go through in life is to be in a rock band. That is for many reasons – some of which I’ll go into and some of which I won’t.” He added: “If you want to be good at anything, whether as a rock musician or a politician, you’ve got to have talent.”

His answers must have gone down well, because when the session ended, Mr Milken informed his “visibly shocked” guest that he was donating $1m to the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.

Clegg’s moral calculator isn’t adding up

In the aftermath of the catastrophic collapse of a garment factory building in Savar, Bangladesh, where the death toll has now passed 400, there are two answers that Nick Clegg might have given when asked on his LBC phone-in whether his family shops at Primark or Matalan, from whom the factory took orders.

He could have said “no” on grounds of conscience, or “no” on grounds of taste, because a millionaire can afford to go higher up the market.  Surprisingly, he said: “I’m not pretending our shopping choices are done on some sort of moral calculator, far from it. You go to the most convenient shop, you buy what’s affordable, you try and get what you can in an affordable way for your kids.”

Are there any other activities to which the Deputy Prime Minister doesn’t apply a moral calculator, I wonder?

Forget Ukip v the Tories, it’s mum v daughter

Today’s election in Wiltshire offers an interesting mother and daughter clash. Pat Bryant, a local Ukip stalwart, left, is contesting one ward while her daughter, Liz, is running in another – as a Conservative.

Her mother does not think this family difference will last. She told Marlborough News Online: “Liz will grow up and join Ukip long before David Cameron ever becomes a Conservative.”

Glenda Jackson’s son can’t face the naked truth

With the United Kingdom Independence Party on a roll, there is growing alarm about a promise made on the social media last December by the Daily Telegraph blogger Dan Hodges, right, the “Blairite” son of the irrepressible Glenda Jackson.

He vowed: “If Ukip break 6% at the next election I’ll streak naked down Whitehall in a Nigel Farage mask while singing ‘Land of Hope and Glory’...” 

Strictly speaking, the “next election” is today’s, in which it is highly likely that Ukip will top six per cent. The next national election will be for the European Parliament next year, when Ukip can be expected to do even better.

Mr Hodges is trying to extricate himself by saying that he meant the next general election. But it is  all very academic, because we know what these bloggers are like.

In 2010, the Tory blogger Iain Dale faithfully promised to run naked down Whitehall if the Lib Dems won “only” 59 Commons seats. They actually won only 57. Did he run naked down Whitehall? Of course not. There is no danger of Hodges keeping his word either.

I even wonder if he can sing.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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 General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea