Andy McSmith's Diary: The man who didn’t hate Britain but did kill a cat

 

Ed Miliband has won an unexpected gong at the annual Spectator political awards for his speech to this year’s Labour Party conference. Unexpected because the magazine’s editor, Fraser Nelson, thought that the speech was constructed around “a dangerous principle, dug out of its 1970s grave and held up for applause”.

The Labour leader was not at the lunch to receive the award in person, but recorded a speech on video explaining that he had not put the date in his diary because he never expected to win, and claiming that he was busy battling with the Sunday Sport.

He held up the headline that was the source of contention – “Ed Miliband’s dad killed my kitten”. The complainant, whose name was Eunice, alleged that one night, she went out to look for her cat, Winston. “I shouted, ‘Come here, Winston,’” she recounted, “but at that moment a young sailor came pedalling down the road on his bike… He was obviously steaming drunk. He barrelled into Winston, squishing him flat, then carried on as if nothing happened. That man was Ralph Miliband.”

In relating this story, Ed Miliband used that journalistic cliché “You couldn’t make it up”. I rather suspect that someone has.

Universally challenged

Jeremy Paxman has caught it from both directions over that infamous interview with Russell Brand. Nick Clegg was not impressed by the broadcaster’s subsequent comments to the effect that modern politics is almost as dire as Brand claims. “Here’s a guy, what does he get paid? A million pounds, or thereabouts, paid by taxpayers. He lives off politics, and he spends all his time sneering at politics,” the Deputy Prime Minister complained on LBC.

Meanwhile The Socialist, the Trotskyite organ, raves about Brand. “Paxman was left utterly exposed as the capitalist media pawn that he is, left speechless by the quick-witted comedian,” its reviewer wrote. Anyone who has Nick Clegg and the Trots lined up against him must have got something right.

Keeping counsel

Strange things are happening in the Tory-controlled London borough of Wandsworth. Robert Morritt, the former election agent, was elected to the council in May 2010, as a Tory, but he is not a Tory councillor any more, because he has had the  whip removed.

He is still a party member, though, because the Putney Conservatives debated a proposal this week to expel him, but rejected it. Officially, nobody knows why, outside a tight group of local Conservatives – though rumours have seeped into the Guido Fawkes website that it is to do with money. Rex Osborn, the leader of the Labour group in Wandsworth, said: “If he has had the whip removed, he must have done something wrong. What is it? They won’t say.”

Melting point

This could be the start of something small. Mike Nattrass, the MEP and former deputy leader of Ukip who not long ago denounced Nigel Farage as “totalitarian”, launched a new party, An Independence Party, in a pub in Droitwich last night. He has picked up sufficient support from colleagues  for the Droitwich Spa Advertiser to describe  Ukip as being “in meltdown” in Worcestershire.

Following hard on the rift in Lincolnshire which has led to there being two competing Ukip groups on the county council, it suggests that Ukip is following the rule that small parties disintegrate at the first hint of success.

Unfaithful friends

The appearance of the three heads of the security services before a Commons committee is a good enough excuse to reprint what – according to the book Body of Secrets, by James Bamford – is the spooks’ motto: “In God we trust; all others we monitor.”

Shame old story

Scales are falling from the eyes of Tommy Robinson, the former leader of the English Defence League. He tweeted: “Leaving the EDL has given me a chance to look from the outside in! I’m embarrassed by some of the complete racist morons I represented.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager - Part Time

£16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital agency based in Ashford, Ke...

Recruitment Genius: Sales and Marketing Executive

£19000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent