Andy McSmith's Diary: George Osborne eyes William Hague’s Foreign Secretary job in act of misplaced optimism

George Osborne intends to become Foreign Secretary next year, according to The Spectator’s normally plugged-in political editor, James Forsyth. The assumption is that William Hague will pull out of frontline politics in May 2015.

He will be 54, too young to retire, but he has been around a very long time, having become an MP at the age of 28, a cabinet minister at 34, and leader of the Tory party at 36. Osborne and David Cameron have formed the most successful political partnership in recent Conservative history, and Osborne reportedly will want to be where the action is. The main action, if there is a Conservative government, will be the referendum on whether to stay in or leave the EU.

There is, of course, the formality of a general election to get through first. If leading figures such as Osborne are already mentally bagging their seats in a future Cabinet, they must think that election is as good as won. A lot of Tories thought the same in 2010.

Nadine’s novelistic flop

Nadine Dorries has been assiduous in promoting her new novel, The Four Streets. It is the first in a projected series of three for which her publishers, Head of Zeus, reportedly paid a six-figure advance. Now, three weeks after the book first appeared in the shops and on Amazon, the sales figures are in four digits. At the latest count, it has sold 1,154 copies. 

That’s no lady...

“You are an illustrious product of the Cheltenham Ladies’ College, I cannot believe they taught you there to behave like that,” exclaimed the Speaker, John Bercow, as he rebuked the Labour MP Fiona Mactaggart for barracking too loudly during Prime Minister’s Questions.

Cheltenham Ladies’ College has many illustrious products. I suspect that the 77-year-old actress, Tsai Chin, who played Madame Lu in the 2006 version of Casino Royale, may have been a sixth-former there around the year 1953 – because she wrote a song, vividly describing the life these ladies led. I quote:

“I went to school in Cheltenham, at a fashionable ladies’ college, where I learnt what’s what and acquired a lot of exceedingly practical knowledge.

“Our reading, writing, arithmetic was positively mediocre, but we got pretty slick at the three-card trick and we played a pretty hand of poker…

“Our marks at French and algebra were a series of disasters, but at forging cheques and S-E-X, we were absolute past masters…”

If that is the sort of education Ms Mactaggart had, no wonder she gets out of hand during Prime Minister’s Questions.

Patriarchs of the House

As is often the way, the highlight of Prime Minister’s Questions was the performance by the Father of the House, the 83-year-old Sir Peter Tapsell, who instead of asking a question delivered a seminar on how to privatise a utility. Sir Peter’s political career is entering its final year, because he has said he will bow out at the general election. And we now know who the next Father of the House will be, because the Manchester Gorton constituency Labour Party has reselected its sitting MP, Sir Gerald Kaufman, undeterred by his age. He is four months younger than Sir Peter, and if he serves out another five-year term, he will still be an MP at the age of 89 years and 10 months.

Does any of it stand up?

David Davies, Tory MP for Monmouth, has accused Welsh GPs of handing out Viagra “willy nilly”, according to Wales Online. The site quotes a Welsh government source as saying this is a “cock-and-bull” story – meaning, if I may revert to journalists’ slang, that it doesn’t stand up.

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: Software / Web Developer - ASP.NET

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company produces a wide ra...

Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

£22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Day In a Page

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
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones