Andy McSmith's Diary: Chancellor shows standard class strain on the train

George Osborne has obviously absorbed the lesson from that embarrassing occasion in October 2012 when he was caught riding in a first class train carriage on a standard class ticket. Today he boarded the 8.30 train to Glasgow, at Euston station, and settled down in a standard class coach. My scout saw him looking wistfully out of the window like a man who wished he was in first class.

PM’s pigs caught up in mess

Animal lovers in David Cameron’s Witney constituency are snorting about the swinish treatment of two Oxford Sandy and Black piglets, named Florence and Nancy after the Prime Minister’s daughters.

He donated them to a local tourist attraction, Cogges Manor Farm, where they spend all day locked in a pig sty, because museum staff say they might damage artefacts in contravention of heritage laws if they were allowed out to rummage and roam.

In that case, say the protesters, Cogges Manor Farm should never have accepted responsibility for them, even if they were a gift from the Prime Minister.

The Witney Gazette reports that 34 people have signed a petition.

Vine should count on Gove

“(Jeremy) Clarkson is a good generation older than me,” wrote Sarah Vine, Daily Mail star columnist. A year ago, this same Sarah Vine complained “at 46, I felt invisible.”

Clarkson is getting on a bit, but he’s not so much that he is a “good generation” older than that. He was born in 1960.

Sarah Vine is married to Michael Gove, the Cabinet minister responsible for making sure children are taught basic arithmetic.

A questionable Defence?

With nothing much else happening in Parliament, MPs are getting excited about an election under way for the chairmanship of the Defence Select Committee. Though it’s an all-party committee, and MPs from all parties can vote, the chairman has to be a Conservative, a proviso which has restricted  the field to eight candidates so far.

Julian Lewis, a former seaman and near-fanatical advocate for renewing the UK’s nuclear arsenal, has gathered some heavyweight support, including the former Defence Secretary Liam Fox and the former Labour Cabinet minister Peter Hain. Bob Stewart, who once commanded UN forces in Bosnia, and was a soldier for 28 years, is another strong contender. Coming up on the rails there is Keith Simpson, a military historian of some distinction.

Speaking to the Press Galley lunch, the Defence Secretary Phil Hammond professed to be “scrupulously neutral” in this contest, but added: “I’m not sure the Speaker was.”

When John Bercow was running for the office of Speaker, one of his campaign organisers was Julian Lewis. During Wednesday’s Prime Minister’s Questions, Bercow allowed Lewis to put a question about defence to David Cameron, so reminding all MPs of his long, obsessive interest in this field.

It was 50 years ago today…

It was good of the ageing Sir Paul McCartney to drop by his old home city of Liverpool this week to meet some music students, and I hope no one had the bad grace to remind him of a certain anniversary.

In the 1960s, it was rare for a foreign act to top the US billboard charts, but The Beatles hogged the top spot for almost three months until 62-year-old Louis Armstrong unexpectedly knocked them off their perch with his rendering of ‘Hello Dolly.’ That was 50 years ago, on 9 May 1964.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
News
news
Life and Style
Jack Cooksey goes for the grand unveiling - moments before dropping his new iPhone 6 on the floor
iphone launch
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

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

Primary Supply Teacher - Loughborough

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Are you a Teacher looking fo...

Primary General Cover Teachers

Negotiable: Randstad Education Leicester: Are you a Newly Qualified Teacher lo...

Part Time Primary Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Part Time Primary TeacherOur...

Science Technician

£7 - £8 per hour: Randstad Education Cheshire: The Job:School Science Technici...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week