Andy McSmith's Diary: Lib Dem attack on Tory minister seems flea-bitten

 

The Tory Justice minister Helen Grant must be bracing herself for the inevitable right-wing reaction to her suggestion that some women locked in our jails should not be there. With that before her, she probably scarcely noticed the attack fired in her direction in her Maidstone and the Weald constituency.

A buffoon named Jasper Gerard, a former journalist and biographer of Nick Clegg, drew attention to himself last month when he airily dismissed claims of sexual harassment by the Liberal Democrat peer Lord Rennard, telling the BBC: “It was only touching a woman’s knee; it’s hardly Jimmy Savile.”

Gerard has been chosen to contest Maidstone and the Weald for the Liberal Democrats, and has opened his campaign in style by being quoted in the Kent & Sussex Courier as saying: “If Mr Bean had a wife, she would be Helen Grant.”

When right-wing tabloids are out to get you, an attack like that must feel like being bitten by a flea when you’re being stung by a horde of wasps.

Belly-aching Beloff

One of the many delights to be found among the latest papers released yesterday by the Margaret Thatcher Archive Trust is a splenetic letter from Lord Beloff, founder and head of Britain’s first independent university, in Buckingham, who was enraged by television images of women peaceniks camped outside the military base at Greenham Common.

Their protest, Lord Beloff told Baroness Thatcher, in a letter dated 14 December 1982, was just “an induced mass hysteria … impervious to argument”. He added: “I shall not be content until it’s as hazardous to wear a CND badge on the streets of London as it would be to sport a swastika in Tel Aviv.”

A Judy to be proud of

Almost 10 years to the day after a Liverpool gangster, George Kelly, was posthumously cleared of the murder for which he was hanged in 1950, Cherie Blair. below, has played a fitting tribute to the barrister who fought in vain to save him. Kelly originally said he did not want a “Judy” to handle his case, but ended up in awe of his lawyer, Rose Heilbron.

It was the first murder case in British legal history to be handled by a woman barrister. The Jewish Chronicle reports that Mrs Blair told an Israeli Business Club dinner that Dame Rose “was extraordinarily famous in Liverpool as one of the great daughters of the city. I thought ‘if one girl from Liverpool could make it in the law, maybe this girl from Liverpool could do it too.’  

MPs’ central heating

Fourth-year physics students at Leicester University have calculated that the hot air caused by MPs’ “prolonged speaking” in the Commons generates 10 kilowatts of heat, not nearly enough to keep the place warm on a cold day. Counter-intuitive.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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

Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back