Andy McSmith's Diary: Dear Leader Dave dips his toe into the macho political pool
By taking a 6am dip in the chilly waters of Lough Erne, accompanied by a reluctant police protection officer, while the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, stayed in bed, David Cameron has joined the macho band of political leaders who have sought to reinforce their authority with displays of physical fitness.
The most significant swim in modern times was Mao Zedong’s 10-mile effort along the Yangtze river, at Wuhan, in July 1966. The Great Helmsman was 73 and had been keeping a low profile for some time, giving rise to speculation that his power had ebbed away. His dip in the Yangtze was a brilliant piece of showmanship that heralded the appalling Cultural Revolution.
Mussolini also ardently believed in letting his people know how fit and virile he was, and would swim daily. He commissioned Italy’s finest swimming pool, constructed out of pure marble with stone mosaic decorations, at the foot of the Monte Mario hill in Rome.
The late Senator Edward Kennedy, on the other hand, never lived down the day he claimed to have shown remarkable fitness in the water, on the night of 18 July 1969, when he accidentally drove his car into a river near Martha’s Vineyard. His passenger drowned, but he turned up at his hotel room, though the accident had occurred on the far side of the river, and there was no record that he had taken a ferry. “I suddenly jumped into the water and impulsively swam across, nearly drowning once again in the effort, and returned to my hotel about 2am,” he explained.
Hague’s source of amusement
On having the words of an unnamed “senior Tory source” quoted at him, predicting that the Government will never allow the Commons a vote on whether to arm Syria’s rebels, in case it lost, the Foreign Secretary William Hague, magisterially replied: “There is no Tory more senior than the Prime Minister. Occasionally, one or two might think they are, but there are no Tories more senior than the Prime Minister.” Whom could he have had in mind?
Culture clash is short and sweet
Mr Cameron has been asked in writing by Dan Jarvis, the Labour MP for Barnsley Central, whether he has any plans to abolish the Department for Culture, to which the Prime Minister has supplied a one-word answer: “No.” I can’t see much wriggle room there, so that seems to put that rumour to rest.
My extraterrestrial affair with a Cat Queen
Simon Parkes, who lives in Whitby, North Yorkshire, is an unusual fellow. He is a driving instructor. His middle name is Bard. He is the welfare officer of the Norwegian Forest Cat Society, raising money for veterinary care and the other needs of distressed members of that little-known feline species. He is a Labour town councillor for Whitby.
Moreover – and this is arguably the most interesting bit – his mother was a 9ft-tall alien with eight fingers. Or so he says. He has also scandalously been having sexual intercourse about four times a year with an alien called Zarka, whom he calls the Cat Queen, and has apparently had a child by her.
“My wife found out about it and was very unhappy, clearly. That caused a few problems, but it is not on a human level, so I don’t see it as wrong,” Mr Parkes tells a forthcoming Channel 4 documentary. You can see why his poor wife might be distressed, though I am not sure which would be worse: to discover that your husband is half alien, or that he is half bonkers.
- 1 Autism 'caused by genetics', study suggests
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Why you should never make assumptions about people with autism
- 4 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
Bali nine: Welcome to 'Execution Island' – the Indonesian holiday resort where foreigners are sent to die
How Homer Simpson discovered the Higgs boson over a decade before scientists
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Harrison Ford plane crash: Star Wars actor 'seriously injured' after light aircraft crash lands
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'
£37500 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced Quantity Surveyor r...
£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast-growing company speci...
£17000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Support Administrator - East Ridi...