Village People: 03/04/2010

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Indy Politics

'Sun' journalists fail to get the joke

Some Sun exclusives are more exclusive than others – there was one in yesterday's edition that will be exclusive forever.

"Cambridge to strip BNP boss of degree" was the headline over the "exclusive" news that Cambridge University dons had made an unprecedented decision to deprive Nick Griffin of his degree, because they did not like his politics. Actually the story was not exclusive. It was almost word for word the same as a report posted the previous day on a student website called The Tab. But where The Tab quoted a non-existent university spokesman called "Tim Colt", The Sun had the same quotation, only they attributed it to Tim Holt, who does indeed work at the university's press office. The report in The Tab was dated 1 April. And The Sun's editorial team had obviously not spotted a comment beneath from a blogger using the name April Fewl. "There is no truth in the report in The Sun," a mildly exasperated-sounding university spokesman said yesterday.

Some MPs just can't let go

One of the sadder sights after a general election is that of ex-MPs who cannot come to terms with life after Parliament. In 1997, the Village was infested for weeks by defeated Tories, wandering about like extras from Plaga Zombie. Andrew Pelling soon to be ex-MP for Croydon South, is exhibiting symptoms of this distressing condition. His five trouble-strewn years in Parliament began with a messy divorce, and being arrested for allegedly assaulting his second wife, who was pregnant. That charge was dropped – and so was Mr Pelling by the Conservatives. He had announced that he would stand down at the election but this week came an "urgent press release". Mr Pelling has changed his mind. He is standing as an independent, in the belief that Croydon people do not want to be parted from him.

Business leaders aim high

On to people who have a future in politics. The list of business leaders who signed a letter to The Daily Telegraph praising the shadow Chancellor George Osborne is getting longer. At first, there were 23. By yesterday there were 37. If David Cameron becomes Prime Minister next month, he will want to appoint a large number of new peers, to counter the Labour and Liberal Democrat presence in the Lords. It will be an interesting exercise, cross-checking the list of new peers with that of the 37 brave business leaders who come out for George.

Georgian TV 'sorry' for Brown spoof

Gordon Brown has had an apology from a national television station. It will not make a bundle of difference to the coverage he receives during the general election, but it is nice of them. The offending station is Imedi, based in Georgia. On 13 March, Imedi ran a spoof report that the Russians had invaded Georgia, which caused mass panic. The "report" included footage of Gordon Brown supposedly commenting on the invasion. Our man in Tbilisi has furiously protested. Imedi has apologised.