Nick Robinson, the BBC’s political editor, had an embarrassing moment on air today. During the Daily Politics programme, Labour’s Caroline Flint was railing against bonuses for bankers that are larger than their annual salaries when suddenly a burst of music filled the studio. It was coming from Robinson’s iPad, which he hastily switched off.
To cover his embarrassment, he asked whether anyone knew the words that would have come next if he had kept the machine on. The correct answer was “Fat-bottomed girls, you make the rocking world go round”. Not the sort of stuff you expect to hear on Daily Politics.
Forget democracy, Prince Andrew’s in Bahrain for business reasons
There was a photograph proudly displayed on Prince Andrew’s official Twitter account today, taken in Bahrain, where he was being received by the King, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah. He used to be known as “Air miles Andy” because of all the travelling in his role as an unofficial trade envoy, but that ceased when his friendship with the American financier Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender, threatened to become an embarrassment. That episode is now, apparently, behind him, and he is in Bahrain to promote British business.
Since 2011, there have been constant reports of civil-rights abuses in Bahrain, mainly against Shia who make up a majority of the population. In March 2011, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates sent in troops to protect the Sunni ruling family. According to the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, there were 651 arrests during 2013 that were related to the protests that have been going for almost three years.
If the Prince were a politician, he might feel the need to mention this in his talks with the King. As a trade envoy, he will no doubt say that it is outside his remit.
PM partial to poverty porn
David Cameron has caught only a “bit” of Channel 4’s much-publicised reality show Benefits Street, which documents the lives of people on an inner-city Birmingham street, he revealed at Prime Minister’s Questions.
But he has admitted to being drawn to similar subject matter in the past. When he was Opposition leader, he confessed that one of his favourite shows was the comedy-drama Shameless, set on a council estate featuring the work-shy Frank Gallagher as the main character. He explained at the time: “Samantha started watching Shameless, so I watched it with her. It’s on quite late and she started watching it in bed, and it is quite addictive, because it is so awful.”
Easier life after Clegg
Sean Kemp, a popular Liberal Democrat spin doctor, will depart quietly from Westminster tomorrow to work for Open Road, a PR consultancy whose clients include Allergan, Genting Casinos and Amazon. After so many years spent convincing journalists that Nick Clegg was a visionary statesman, defending a tax-avoiding multinational, a gambling concern and a firm famous for making breast implants should be no problem.
As George Osborne issued his warning about the state of the EU, he was heard to say that Britain should be “in Europe, not run by Europe”. Observers were quick to note that it was the same expression that William Hague had used in his address to the party conference in autumn 2000. But before we rush to accuse Osborne of nicking someone else’s idea, it would be fair to point out that in 2000, he was one of Hague’s speech-writers.