Andy McSmith's Diary: Nigel Farage might want to catch up on his reading - of his own party's manifesto

I try hard not to insult people on air. For you I’m going to make an exception

With hindsight, Nigel Farage might have done better not to ask to be interviewed on BBC2’s Daily Politics yesterday. He had not read the manifesto on which Ukip fought the 2010 election, his excuse being that he had stood down from the leadership at the time when it was written. Unfortunately, the programme-makers had.

“Ukip is now against replacing Trident?” the interviewer, Andrew Neil, asked him. “I’m not sure where you got that from,” Farage replied. “From your website,” said Neil. “And you want a compulsory dress code for taxi drivers,” said Neil. “Do we? News to me,” was the reply.

Farage explained: “Under the last leadership, in the 2010 election, we managed to produce a manifesto that was 486 pages long, so you can quote me all sorts of bits of it that I will not know, and that’s why I have said none of it stands today and we will launch it all after the European elections.”

Actually, the manifesto was not 486 pages, it was 16 pages, with a foreword by Nigel Farage, so he was out by 470 pages. You could check this on Ukip’s website, were it not for the fact that it appears to have been taken down.

Farage was reminded of when he said that a woman working as a City broker who took maternity leave was “worth less” than a man. Defending it, Farage declared that, “City firms look at the bottom line”.

Sitting by him was Louise Cooper, a City analyst and mother, who told him: “I try hard not to lose my temper on air and I try hard not to insult people on air. For you I’m going to make an exception. What you are saying is laughable. You are talking out of your bottom.”

Until recently, Ukip operated on the principle that there was no such thing as bad publicity. Now, it is not so sure.

With friends like these...

Suddenly, Lord Rennard has a friend. Norman Tebbit, Margaret Thatcher’s old mucker who never showed much sympathy for anyone, feels sorry for the Lib Dem peer, and thinks that the entire case against him is a “farrago of nonsense”.

Lord Tebbit’s remark, in a blog on The Daily Telegraph website, rests on the belief that Lord Rennard is accused of nothing more than touching a woman’s clothed leg. Lord Rennard denies any wrongdoing, but there is more to the accusations than that.

There is also a hint of sympathy for the peer’s predicament, with darker overtones, from the Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb. He told the Eastern Daily Press: “I fear for his mental health. I don’t want anything awful to happen as a result of this.”

Legal Liberals

More than 30 years have slipped by since David Steel told an annual conference of the Liberal Party: “Go back to your constituencies and prepare for government.” But the phrase still lingers in the memory of the former Lib Dem MP Lembit Opik. He rings up to say that these days, “it seems to be ‘Go back to your QCs and prepare for court’”.

Power lunch

Last April, Andrew Cooper, the pollster who advised David Cameron on how to make the Tory party look less nasty, left Downing Street after losing out in a power battle with Australian attack dog Lynton Crosby, who specialises in a rougher style of politics. Yesterday, the two were seen lunching together. A reconciliation made in heaven.

Morning mix-up

It was thoughtful of the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who was on Sky News’s Sunrise yesterday, to congratulate the presenter, Charlotte Hawkins, on her award. Only the award in question went to her absent colleague Eamonn Holmes. And it was not for Sunrise, but for ITV’s This Morning. That aside, the minister was on the money.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Joe Cocker performing on the Stravinski hall stage during the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland in 2002
musicHe 'turned my song into an anthem', says former Beatle
News
Clarke Carlisle
sport
Sport
footballStoke City vs Chelsea match report
Arts and Entertainment
theatreThe US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
News
Coca-Cola has become one of the largest companies in the world to push staff towards switching off their voicemails, in a move intended to streamline operations and boost productivity
peopleCoca-Cola staff urged to switch it off to boost productivity
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
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

Austen Lloyd: Regulatory / Compliance / Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Exeter - An excellent opportunity for a Solici...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - 12 Month Fixed Term - Shrewsbury

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: World Wide PLC Service Engineer

£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'