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UK Politics

Andy McSmith's Diary: Woolwich Twitter witness, Boya Dee, refuses to sell story


The first that many people knew about the ghastly murder in Woolwich was from the Twitter feed of an eye witness, Boya Dee, a south London musician and filmmaker.

His first tweets were so graphic that it seemed they could not be true. He even seemed to be having difficulty believing them himself. “Mate ive seen alot of shit im my time but that has to rank sumwhere in the top 3. I couldnt believe my eyes,” he tweeted.

Word of his tweets spread rapidly. He had around 10,000 followers when the atrocity took place: within a day, that figure had more than doubled. We now know how accurate his observations were.

Unsurprisingly, every media outlet in town was seeking to interview him, but he turned them all down, including one reportedly offering £75,000. “This story is not about ME And doesn’t need to be sensationalised anymore by me selling my story for a few bucks,” Boya Dee tweeted.

Bad timing for army recruitment ad

After ITN’s 10 o’clock news had reported at length about the Woolwich atrocity on Wednesday night, they cut away for a commercial break, which included an army recruitment ad. Not their most fortuitous bit of scheduling.

Mr Toad inspires  Mr Gove. Toot! Toot!

The author Dominic Shelmerdine, who has been soliciting entries from the great and the good for a second volume of his compilation My Original Ambition has elicited from Michael Gove the information that his favourite book as a child was The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame. So that’s where he gets it from. You can almost hear the Education Secretary saying to himself: “The clever men at Oxford know all there is to be knowed, but they none of them know one half as much as intelligent Mr Gove!”

Sorry, Tory tweeters, Louise has long gone

It is nearly a year since that publicity junkie, Louise Mensch, gave up being a Conservative MP, and yet there is a Twitter account set up by the Conservatives with the self-explanatory title Conservative MPs, which collates all tweets from Conservative MPs (warning: spending too long reading tweets on this feed could seriously damage your boredom threshold). In among them, you find Louise Mensch’s many tweets. Someone should break the news gently to the techies at Tory headquarters.

Signs send media in the wrong direction 

Feock village, near Truro has been visited by some confused journalists since the Daily Mail reported that it was the “most over-signed place” in Britain, with 864 road signs, about one-fifth of which are scheduled to be removed by Cornwall County Council. Feock may have more road signs than are necessary, but their number is nowhere near 864.

The announcement from Cornwall County Council referred not to the village but to Feock parish, which includes the villages of Feock, Carnon Downs, Chycoose, Devoran, Goonpiper, Harcourt, Killiganoon, Penelewey, Penpol, Porthgwidden, Restronguet Point, Trevilla and Trelissick. Hope that clears that up.

Keep your hands on the wheel, Delia

“A pork pie is a gorgeous treat and I can eat it like an apple as I drive along,” 71-year-old Delia Smith has told the Radio Times.

I am not sure I would want to be crossing the road in front of her as she drives along, one hand on the wheel, pork pie in the other.