The Week in Review

HOW David Mellor, a politician not normally averse to a high media profile, must regret having been dubbed 'the Minister of Fun' when he was made Secretary of State for National Heritage.

He now faces the worst crisis of his career after a Sunday newspaper revealed that he had been taking his ministerial brief too literally by having an affair with a hitherto unknown actress, Antonia de Sancha.

Fun is always a highly subjective commodity and much of the press could not remember when they had last had so much of it. Mr Mellor, his family and Ms de Sancha did not share the almost universal joy in what used to be Fleet Street.

Mr Mellor's problem is that the story stubbornly refuses to go away, spreading like a bushfire sometimes in directions which do nothing to help his political survival.

Firstly it spawned a fierce debate over privacy and whether the press should be allowed to publish such stories. Mr Mellor is the minister responsible for deciding whether a law is to be introduced curbing the media's right to do so.

This allowed even the most strait-laced sections of the media to discuss Mr Mellor's affair in detail in the context of whether there should be a privacy law and, if so, whether he should continue to be responsible for it.

The great and the good who sit on the Press Complaints Commission might have been expected to bail out the embattled minister. But they ruled that the public has a right to know about the private behaviour of politicians.

Then Kelvin MacKenzie, the editor of the Sun, widened the debate to include political dirty tricks and double standards over privacy. He revealed that during the general election campaign, a Tory Cabinet minister had offered to give him the names of women with whom Paddy Ashdown, the Liberal Democrat leader, was alleged to have had affairs.

From Mr Mellor's point of view, it has been unfortunate that there has been no other fun around to divert the packs of reporters scouring the nation for more details. The week has been an uninterrupted tale of woe.

The Cabinet decided to impose a firm straitjacket on public spending, which will effectively pit department against department in the annual budgetary round. Social security benefits are expected to bear the brunt of the resulting cuts.

The recession continues to haunt the Government, despite some predictions that the economy would pick up in the wake of the Conservatives' election victory. Figures published on Wednesday showed that there has been a decline in high street spending.

The likelihood of mortgage rate increases threatened to deepen the economic gloom and forced the Government to cut interest rates on its new National Savings bond, to enable building societies to attract investors back.

Alison Halford, Assistant Chief Constable of Merseyside, reached an agreement which ends her two-year battle to prove that she was denied promotion because of sexual discrimination.

The deal also ends an industrial tribunal which has cost pounds 1.2m, done nothing for her reputation or that of Merseyside Police, and which has been no fun at all.

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: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketers / Sales - Home Based - OTE £23,500

£19500 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced B2B Telemarketer wa...

Recruitment Genius: Showroom Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor