Andy McSmith's Diary: What would Vince Cable, circa 2006, say about Royal Mail?

Guess who said: “I am seriously worried that the Government miscalculated the value of its assets and sold the taxpayer short.”

It was not Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, in front of a Commons committee defending the privatisation of Royal Mail, whose share price leapt by 38 per cent on the first day of the sale.

No, it was Vince Cable, the Lib Dem Treasury spokesman, in 2006, criticising the Labour Government’s sale of the defence research company QinetiQ, whose new owners made an 800 per cent profit in three years.

One voice, two faces

And on a similar tack, compare and contrast this quote: “Recent months have seen unprecedented numbers of asylum-seekers, many of whose claims have been unfounded, arriving in the United Kingdom, putting immense pressures on resources.”

With this: “Ukip’s campaign needs to be exposed for what it is, a racist campaign… They are deploying the same language and tactics used by openly racist parties but instead of targeting migrants from Africa and Asia, they are targeting migrants from within the EU.”

The first was the then Immigration Minister, Barbara Roche, in 1999, explaining Labour’s decision to open a new privately-run detention camp for asylum-seekers. The second was Barbara Roche, who now heads pressure group Migration Matters, launching a campaign to defeat Ukip by exposing its members as racists.

Ukip vs Ukip

Those who think that Ukip is racist through and through will point to William Henwood, the former council election candidate who resigned today from the party, who tweeted that Lenny Henry should “go and live in a black country”.

In the Black Country, where Henry was born, there is a Ukip Euro-election candidate called Bill Etheridge, whose membership of the Tory Party was suspended three years ago after he posed with a golliwog, a doll now considered offensive.

He told Wolverhampton’s Express and Star: “I am enraged by the vile and repulsive comments made about Dudley’s own Lenny Henry. I believe this individual who made these comments should be publicly paraded through the streets of the very town he has offended.”

Whatever Ukip is, it’s not monolithic.

The only way is absence

Treasury minister Andrea Leadsom appeared to suffer a website malfunction after Daily Telegraph journalists trawled through the site for her remarks attacking HS2. Ms Leadsom would have risked the sack if she had voted against the High Speed Rail Bill, and would have been accused of going back on her words if she had voted for it. Conveniently, it turned out that she had to be in Brussels, so could do neither.

Her website is now operative, and anyone can read her comments, such as: “I do not believe the business case for HS2 stacks up, it is not value for taxpayers’ money… The only reason that the pro-HS2 campaign accuses us of being nimbys is simply because they do not have a valid argument.”

That’s enough clichés

There are too many fat people in Gloucestershire. The Gloucester Citizen reports that the county is at “tipping point” because of a “ticking obesity time bomb” and quotes a warning from Dawn Harper, the Gloucestershire GP and presenter of Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies, that “if we don’t all wake up and smell the coffee to do something about what is an epidemic in this country, then our NHS will just crumble”.

Gloucestershire has been gorging on junk clichés.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue