Andy McSmith's Diary: No Fry in that night as comic pulls out of Labour event

 

Stephen Fry has pulled out of a big Labour Party fundraising event because he doesn’t like the way the party treated one of his friends.

Paul Gambaccini was one of the celebrities swept up in Operation Yewtree. He was arrested in October, released on bail but has not been charged. The 65-year-old DJ is a longstanding Labour sympathiser who was expecting to be invited to a previous party fund-raiser. But when the invitation arrived, after the avalanche of publicity that surrounded his arrest, it was for his partner Christopher Sherwood only.

Gambaccini, I am told, angrily compares Labour’s rejection of him with the way the Conservatives stood by the MP Nigel Evans through his highly publicised trial. Stephen Fry sympathises. Labour’s hopes of getting the comic and national treasure to their 9 July event are fading, though Alastair Campbell is trying to mend fences.

Pizza the action

David Cameron found time in his crowded schedule to attend a garden party on Wednesday night, given by the Tory think-tank, Policy Exchange. It was a chance to reminisce about life at Policy Exchange in the 2005, when Cameron was weighing up whether to enter a leadership election that was then thought to be a shoo-in for David Davis. “There were some phenomenally bright people in the room,” he said. “Nicholas Boles, George Osborne, Michael Gove, Daniel Finkelstein – none of them ever stopped talking, but as far as I could see – and I was the quiet one eating the pizza on the floor – they had some pretty bright ideas about what needed to happen on the centre-right of British politics, so I stole all their ideas, took up the ball, and ran with it.” Of such stuff are political leaders made.

Are you talking about me?

In the same talk, David Cameron made a passing reference to a “career progression from special adviser to psychopath”. He named no names, though the following morning Michael Gove’s former adviser, Dominic Cummings, tweeted “to hacks & mental health charities: NO, I am NOT making any complaints/ministerial code etc re DC calling me a ‘psychopath’, all’s fair...”

That’s all right, then

A press officer from the Sweden Democrats, Ukip’s new partners in the European Parliament, comes on the line objecting to my description of SD as having been founded as a “white supremacist” party. He does not dispute academic research which says that SD’s “heritage is racism and neo-Nazism”, or that Nazis and fascists were in the party at its beginnings, but that is not to say its founding principle was promoting white supremacy, he argues. And when the party imposed a ban on uniforms in the 1990s, it was not to stop members dressing up as Nazis but to discourage violent skinheads. Nigel Farage will be relieved.

The wit to woo

Social media became excited yesterday when a tweet from the Labour press team suggested that Ed Miliband had come up with a policy that was not too left wing, nor too right wing, and had the wit to woo the voters. “Everybody should have his own owl,” it read. Sad to say, their Twitter feed had been hacked.

Working together

First came Lord Mandelson telling Newsnight that Ed Miliband is not creating a “convincing narrative.” Then up popped Gordon Brown’s ex-bruiser, Damian McBride, opining that “it’s hard for the generals to sit down and plan how to win each week when Labour currently has no generals”. After all those years of fighting each other, Labour’s unreconstructed Blairities and unreconstructed Brown- ites at last have a project on which to work together – rubbishing Ed Miliband.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
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: Warehouse Operations & Logistics Manager

£38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...

Recruitment Genius: GeoDatabase Specialist - Hazard Modelling

£35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...

Recruitment Genius: Compressed Air Pipework Installation Engineer

£15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Pallet Network

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea