Andy McSmith's Diary: Will we get to see Rupert Murdoch in his budgie smugglers?


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Indy Politics

Rupert Murdoch caused a flurry on Twitter on Wednesday by hinting that the semi-pornographic pictures that have given Page 3 of The Sun its fame might be dropped because they are “old-fashioned”.

Actually The Sun has already appeared several times without a picture of a topless young woman, though on Wednesday it featured a bare-chested 23-year-old. Of the many responses to Murdoch’s tease, my favourite was from the Woman’s Hour presenter, Jane Garvey –“After

@NoMorePage3 triumphs perhaps @rupertmurdoch could delight his female fans by appearing on page 3 in his budgie smugglers.”

French recall Hastings

Reactions to the Scottish referendum among the United Kingdom’s near neighbours have been varied. While the Belgians and the Spanish fear for the implications of a Yes vote on the unity of their own states, the French appear to find England’s discomfiture hilarious. One radio presenter, on being told that the UK might be about to lose almost a third of its area, remarked: “That’s the most they’ve lost since we took two-thirds in 1066.”

Weepies for Lib Dems

The Liberal Democrats have introduced an extraordinary innovation to the party conference season. Their conference, in Glasgow, will include a film night. They are now conducting an online poll to see which film punters would most like to see. They offer a choice of eight, each with a political theme – All the President’s Men, In The Loop etc. Personally, I think the range is too narrow. If they are looking for a film with a title relevant to the party’s current standing, how about The Losers, or Dazed and Confused, or Gone with the Wind, or All is Lost?

By-election blow for Ukip

It was generous of Harriet Harman to pay tribute to the late Jim Dobbin as “a thoroughly decent man who always stuck to his principles” considering how far removed those principles were from Harman’s on abortion rights and similar matters. Earlier this week, I suggested that the by-election in Heywood and Middleton triggered by Dobbin’s death could be an opportunity for Ukip – but Labour hope that they have headed that threat off. They have called the election for 9 October, the very day when Ukip activists will be engaged trying to ensure that Douglas Carswell is re-elected in Clacton.

Bonding over Ukraine

Hostility to the EU was the main issue that drew Carswell to Ukip, obviously – but the writer Matthew d’Ancona points to another, in the updated version of his book In It Together: the Inside Story of the Coalition Government – the similarity of their views on Ukraine. Musing on the Ukraine back in March, Carswell wrote in the Daily Telegraph: “Sometimes boundaries do need to be redrawn – and the world is a better place for it.”

Well, stamps are pricey

Ukip’s latest attempt to persuade Conservative councillors in Canterbury to jump ship did not go so well, when somebody forgot to put stamps on the envelopes. One councillor, Darren Ellis, said: “My initial reaction was to burst out laughing, and then try and figure out what they were playing at.” David Hirst, the local Ukip leader, explained: “Clearly someone cocked up. There’s nothing sinister about it.”