The costly libel judgment against the Speaker’s wife Sally Bercow has been widely seen as a timely warning for other would-be controversialists on social media.
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Wednesday 02 March 2011
MPs' claims for second home expenses slumped by more than a third in the wake of the scandal that engulfed Westminster, it was disclosed today.
Tuesday 01 March 2011
Anyone previously unbriefed as to whether Craig Oliver was a blue-sky-thinking Steve Hilton-alike or an Andy Coulson-esque attack dog has their answer courtesy of this compelling photograph of Oliver arriving for his first day at work. Number 10's new communications chief, or so his accessories would attest, is a fellow who gives good flow-chart. Let's start with the "Beats by [Dr] Dre" designer headphones, denoting a middle-aged man keen to convince passers-by that he was once deeply into hip-hop, and thus requires "cans" with superior bass quality in order to enjoy his old Public Enemy albums on the move.
Wednesday 26 January 2011
The Chinese state can be devilishly ingenious. Consider, if you will, giant pandas: the world's most effective sleeper agents. As the latest issue of Prospect points out, Nixon was presented with a pair of pandas on his 1972 visit to China; just four months later his cronies broke into Democrat headquarters at the Watergate. Later that year, Japanese PM Kakuei Tanaka took delivery of the deceptively cuddly Lan Lan and Kang Kang; he was soon ousted, and embroiled in a bribery scandal. Ted Heath, too, was given a pair of bears mere months before yielding No 10 to Harold Wilson. In 2000, the outgoing Clinton-Gore administration accepted pandas in recognition of years of careful diplomacy with the Chinese. A week later, Gore conceded the presidential election to Bush. And who signed for the UK's new pair of pandas this month? None other than Nick "29 Shags" Clegg. Canny one, that Cameron.
Tuesday 18 January 2011
An unemployed factory worker today became the first person in the UK to be convicted of riding a Segway on a pavement.
Thursday 09 December 2010
To the Mandarin Oriental, where Piers Morgan was hosting his own farewell bash, before setting sail for America to take over CNN's interview show from Larry King. Duncan Bannatyne was in strident form as he regaled me, at some length, with his views on tax avoidance.
Sunday 05 December 2010
Friday 26 November 2010
It has been one of those moments when, as if we have suddenly been spooked by the chilly uncertainties of today and tomorrow, there has been a general scurrying back to the warmth and safety of yesterday. The newspapers have earnestly discussed weddings, public schools, frocks and class. Broadcasters of the old-codger school have bemoaned how fings ain't wot they used to be. A couple of veteran British pin-ups have been back in the headlines.
Friday 26 November 2010
Tory totty Louise Bagshawe MP gave new meaning to the phrase "in-house publicity" by garnering a series of plugs for her book Passion in the Commons this summer. I can now exclusively reveal the plot of her as-yet-untitled next novel, which also follows Desire (2010), Glitz (2008), Glamour (2007) and Sparkles (2006).
Thursday 25 November 2010
Former MP Lembit Opik has been bitten by a snake while enduring the latest I'm A Celebrity challenge.
Friday 19 November 2010
After it presumably became clear the man himself couldn't be bothered, who better to read the audio version of Keith Richards' memoirs than dashing shipmate Johnny Depp?
Tuesday 16 November 2010
For those of you pedantic enough to question the merits of any column that resorts to revealing "news" about pretend people, move along.
Monday 15 November 2010
Will this vile persecution of Andy Coulson never cease? What days these have been for any PhD student researching the thesis entitled "Conspiracy Theory and the Murdoch Empire: Seeking a Common Thread". We'll come to Sky Box Office at the end, but first to Glenn Beck, Fox's lachrymose laureate of lunacy, who last week launched the most overtly anti-semitic attack any mainstream media in any western democracy has known in decades against George Soros, a hate figure to the far right for championing progressive causes.
Monday 15 November 2010
Saturday 13 November 2010
Lembit Opik, the former Liberal Democrat MP, is so ridiculous that he is rather lovable.
Thursday 04 November 2010
Dizzee Rascal, named Ultimate Man of the Year at this week's Cosmopolitan Ultimate Women of the Year Awards, has teamed up with Cheryl Cole (named Woman of the Year at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards, which were in June, in case there's any confusion) for her remarkably non-awful track "Everybody, Everyone" from new album Messy Little Teardrops. But the two, he tells me, never shared a studio. "It was like it never happened," Mr Rascal admitted at the Cosmo event. "I never saw her. They sent me three tracks and I basically picked the one I thought would be best. It saves money on planes: imagine going halfway across the world in first class then deciding that you don't like the person. If they just send you a track, you can get it done in your own studio, in your comfort zone.
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