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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Head Chef

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Garden Centre complex base...

Recruitment Genius: Buyer

£36000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Buyer is required to join thi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45000: SThree: SThree Group have been well es...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen