Andy McSmith's Diary: McBride hopes for some Catholic forgiveness

Our man in Brighton

Damian McBride has had several high-voltage days since the serialisation of his memoirs began, rushing from one television interview to another: but it will be back to reality for him when he returns to work at the Catholic charity Cafod, where he may find the atmosphere a little strained. It’s initial reaction to his confessional memoir, Power Trip, was to stand by their head of media and PR, saying that they knew he had done some bad things, but everyone deserves a chance of redemption.

“Cafod has strong relationships with many figures across the political spectrum… Damian McBride’s work for Cafod has had no bearing on those relationships in the past and we do not expect it to do so in the future. Politicians are intelligent people well capable of distinguishing Cafod the organisation from the background of any individual employees,” the charity’s chief executive, Chris Bain, told The Tablet, as the serialisation in the Daily Mail began.

But two days later, the trustees were showing signs of nervousness about McBride’s renewed notoriety. “Cafod’s trustees and corporate leadership team share the sense of outrage at the story about British politics as described in Damian McBride’s book,” they said in a statement.

They added, generously: “Cafod recruited and employs Damian based on who he is today, not who he was in the past, and it would go against all Catholic values – including the belief in forgiveness and redemption – to judge him for the behaviour and character he demonstrated in the past.”

But then comes the ominous conclusion: “Cafod’s trustees are examining fully the implications which have arisen from the serialisation and the whole book and are carefully considering any appropriate action.”

Mr McBride might be wise to return to work with a humble and penitent air.

What I meant to add...

It must be frustrating after you have delivered a speech more than an hour long to remember afterwards that having remembered so much, you forgot something important.

That fate befell Ed Miliband after Tuesday’s virtuoso note-free, prompter-free performance. When he got to the bit where he said “I have got a message for the Tories today: if they want to have a debate about leadership and character, be my guest” – he meant to throw in a challenge to David Cameron to agree to hold live televised debates in the 2015 election, as the three main party leaders did in 201.

Luckily, Mr Miliband had a second chance the next day, when he was doing a question and answer session with conference delegates, so he slipped the challenge in then.

Bryant toes the female line

The Labour Women’s Network, a pressure group that exists to get more women into prominent positions in public life, spent several days in Brighton buttonholing male politicians and persuading them to be photographed holding a sign in which they promised never to appear on an all-male panel. The shadow Home Office minister, Chris Bryant, was one of the first they zinged.

A couple of days later, he was asked to stand in for his boss, Yvette Cooper, at a fringe meeting organised by the New Statesman, but what should he see when he arrived but a panel of four men and no women. Mr Bryant politely but firmly refused to join them, and announced that he would sit in the audience. There was a 10-minute hiatus while the organisers scurried about until they successfully found a woman who valiantly came in and took the chair, as the only way they could get their star guest to join the panel.

A hint of what’s to come?

Ed Miliband’s announcement that Labour would freeze energy prices for two years produced predictable cries of despair from the energy sector, including dark hints of power cuts.

Even Digby Jones, the former CBI boss who was given a peerage and a ministerial job by Gordon Brown, has accused the Labour leader of “sacrificing Britain’s prosperity on an altar of tribal socialism.”

It is, of course, pure coincidence that on that very evening the lights went out for 10 minutes in the part of north London that includes the Miliband family home.

An express felling

The Daily Mirror party at Labour conference was enlivened by a coconut shy featuring three of those fruits made up to represent the heads of David Cameron, George Osborne and Boris Johnson. The balls were the light kind found in children’s ball ponds. That was no problem for Kirsty Buchanan, political editor of the Sunday Express, who felled all three of the nations’ foremost Tories in just three shots.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Sport
Diego Costa, Ross Barkley, Arsene Wenger, Brendan Rodgers, Alan Pardew and Christian Eriksen
footballRodgers is right to be looking over his shoulder, while something must be done about diving
News
i100
Life and Style
gaming
Arts and Entertainment
Carl Barat and Pete Dohrety in an image from the forthcoming Libertines short film
filmsPete Doherty and Carl Barat are busy working on songs for a third album
Arts and Entertainment
films
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: Electronic Engineer - Smart Home / IoT Devices

£32500 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Electronic Engineer is requi...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Solicitor - Leicester

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: LEICESTER - SENIOR COMMERCIAL SOLICITOR- An o...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer - 1st Line

£18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support organisation focuses on ...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst (Windows, Active Directory) - London £26k

£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Support Analyst / IT Support Analys...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible