Andy McSmith's Diary: In politician-speak, we’re
essentially going to win the Ashes

 

Iain Duncan Smith has described his plan to introduce Universal Credit as “essentially on time” – an expression you might find useful the next time you are embarrassingly late without a plausible excuse.

The idea that “essentially” is the new euphemism for “not” did not much impress Labour’s shadow Leader of the House, Angela Eagle. “On that definition, living standards are ‘essentially’ soaring, the badger cull is ‘essentially’ a success and England is ‘essentially’ winning the Ashes,” she said.

The mere suggestion that the England cricket team is not marching to victory in Australia outraged the Tory MP Peter Bone, who accused Ms Eagle of “talking this country down”. “It is outrageous to suggest that we will not win the Ashes,” he exclaimed. The Leader of the House, Andrew Lansley, agreed that to make a joke at the expense of the England team was “in very poor taste”.

Of course, when England won the opening match of the Ashes series in July, and David Cameron mocked Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd by tweeting “A brilliant match and a brilliant win, don’t you think @KRuddMP?”, that was not “in very poor taste”. You can joke when England win, but not when England lose. Or did I mean “essentially”?

Morally, we’ll take the cash

As the row over the MPs’ proposed 11 per cent pay rise rumbles on, I dare any MP to echo the robust words of Jane Scott, the leader of Wiltshire Council, whose annual allowance has jumped from £37,335 to £52,227. An independent panel noted that by axing several senior management jobs, including the chief executive’s, the council had created more work for councillors, all of whom should be paid more, they ruled. Councillor Scott has told Marlborough News Online that she has a “moral duty” to take the money, for the sake of future council leaders. “The independent panel made their recommendation and I think it’s only right... that we take that recommendation.”

In Rochdale, meanwhile, there was something of a popular uprising after it was announced that the chief executive, Jim Taylor, was to have his salary bumped up from £130,00 to £170,000. The council has now retreated. Mr Taylor will have to get by on a 1 per cent increase,

Less than global briefing

It is a requirement on former ministers who leave government and are thinking of taking up other paid employment that they run it past the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments to check for potential conflicts of interest. Since emerging from prison, Chris Huhne has followed this rule on each of his appointments, including his new role as a Guardian columnist. According to the record, “the Committee noted that Mr Huhne had had official dealings with The Guardian while in office, but that these had comprised of briefings, which had also been provided to all other major national newspapers”.

Oh, but were they? In October 2011, Chris Huhne tried to send a direct message by Twitter, but accidentally tweeted it to the world. He was inviting a journalist to write a story damaging to his fellow cabinet minister Theresa May. “I do not want my fingerprints on the story,” he warned. The intended recipient was Patrick Wintour, political editor of The Guardian. That was one briefing that was not “provided to all other major national newspapers”.

Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, RSPSS, R, AI, CPLEX, SQL)

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

Law Costs

Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...

Junior VB.NET Application Developer (ASP.NET, SQL, Graduate)

£28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...

C# .NET Web Developer (ASP.NET, JavaScript, jQuery, XML, XLST)

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution