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
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Sport
Robbie Savage will not face a driving ban
football'Mr Marmite' faced the possibility of a 28-day ban
Voices
voices
Life and Style
Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries were putting themselves at risk of tinnitus and, in extreme cases, irreversible hearing loss
health
News
It was only when he left his post Tony Blair's director of communications that Alastair Campbell has published books
people The most notorious spin doctor in UK politics has reinvented himself
Life and Style
The new model would be a “pedal assist” bike in which the rider’s strength is augmented by the engine on hills and when they want to go fast
tech
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in ‘I Am Michael’
filmJustin Kelly's latest film tells the story of a man who 'healed' his homosexuality and turned to God
News
i100
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

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower