Andy McSmith's Diary: Give war a chance, says Maria Miller, how else would we have created a strong Europe?


Maria Miller, the Culture Secretary is going through a bad patch. She appeared on Today on Monday to talk about the Government’s plans to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the 1914-18 war.

The Government wants to honour those who died in the conflict without making a judgement on why that war began – which meant that the minister had to improvise when asked about what it was all about. “At that point in Britain’s history,” she said, “it was important that there was a war that ensured that Europe could continue to be a set of countries which were strong and which could be working together.”

Oh dear! Does she really think the Third Reich, the USSR, and the other products of the great war were being strong and “working together”?

A Ukip MEP, by Express delivery

A litmus test of a political party’s fortunes is whether anyone who has a successful career outside politics can be persuaded to give it up and join them. That is why the Tories were so chuffed 10 years ago, when Boris Johnson decided that he wanted to become an MP. At the weekend, it was Nigel Farage looking mighty pleased with himself as he announced that the chief political commentator of the Daily Express, Patrick O’Flynn, had joined Ukip. By next summer, O’Flynn will almost certainly be a Ukip MEP. That O’Flynn supported Ukip is nothing new: he was already their most effective propagandist, apart from Farage himself. He will continue writing and promises his work will be as balanced as before.

Mystery of severed deer’s head

From Dunmow Broadcast, the local newspaper for Saffron Walden, Essex: “Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding an incident in which a severed deer’s head was left at the check-out at a Tesco supermarket...” Witnesses are asked to ring Crimestoppers.

A bicycle made for toupee?

Michael Fabricant, the elaborately coiffured Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, has been turning up to Parliament riding a bicycle made for two. In case anyone did not know it was his, he said on Twitter: “Just been told my tandem is a trip hazard by nice man from Sergeant-at-Arms Department. Sticks out too far.” So does Mr Fabricant’s love of attention?

Miss Widdicombe, we’ve been expecting you

It can be deduced from the memoirs of Ann Widdecombe, former Home Office minister and star of Strictly Come Dancing, that she is no fan of David Cameron. She think he is “big-headed” and in a TV interview on Sunday she made it plain that she holds Cameron responsible for the fact that she has never been offered a peerage.

But the occasion when she put the phone down on him was just a misunderstanding, she reveals. She had had calls from hoaxers pretending to be John Major or William Hague, so when she was driving along the M4, and a caller came on her hands-free phone, claiming to be David Cameron and offering her a new role as UK representative in the Vatican, she replied sharply: “You are not David Cameron.” She also warned that she was going to ring Downing Street from the next service station. When she did, the receptionist exclaimed: “Ah, Miss Widdecombe! The Prime Minister is expecting your call.”

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