Richard Ingrams: Keep an eye on politicians who go from left to right

Notebook

Share
Related Topics

Is he a right-wing fanatic?

Or just an out-and-out nutter? Or possibly a combination of both? I ask the questions not of the Norwegian killer Anders Breivik but our own Education Secretary Michael Gove.

When details were released this week of all the meetings that have taken place between government ministers and Rupert Murdoch, the most surprising were those involving Mr Gove, who enjoyed far more dinner dates than any of his colleagues. It was even more surprising to be informed that Gove had discussed education policy with the man they call the Dirty Digger and had even suggested to him that he might like to sponsor one or two of the new independent academies that Cameron and Gove are so keen on.

Gove is known to be a bit of an intellectual, keen to restore the teaching of traditional subjects in state schools. Isn't it a bit peculiar that he should seek assistance from a man who has done more than anyone in our time to dumb down the cultural values that Gove is so keen to uphold?

It may look like the behaviour of a nutter. But don't let us forget the right-wing fanatic. Murdoch, we should never forget, is a man of extreme right-wing views. And so is Gove – a keen supporter of the Iraq war, an outspoken admirer of George Bush and Tony Blair. Gove and Murdoch have another thing in common. They were both youthful lefties who later in life swung violently to the right – always the most dangerous of political animals.

What the US doesn't know about Morgan

The phone-hacking scandal has claimed many victims but none perhaps so deserving as Piers Morgan, currently having to fend off questions about widespread hacking when he was editor of the Daily Mirror. After being sacked by the Mirror for printing faked photographs of British soldiers allegedly torturing Iraqis, Morgan reinvented himself as a TV personality, achieving some degree of success as a chat-show host in the US. As the recent scandal has shown, Americans are slow to concern themselves with the bad things that go on in this country. So not many of them will have been aware that Morgan as editor of the Daily Mirror was widely attacked for profiting from the increased value of shares which had been tipped in the City pages of his own paper.

Morgan always maintained that it was just a coincidence that he happened to buy shares in a little known company, Viglen, on the day before his paper tipped them. Perhaps luckily for him, he was never prosecuted, unlike his two reporters, one of whom was jailed. Morgan was not even called upon to give evidence at the trial.

If anyone lived a charmed life it seemed to be the slippery Morgan, who went on to achieve success with his published diaries, even though nit-picking critics queried their authenticity. Has luck now finally run out for the lovable, or perhaps not so lovable, rogue Morgan?

Baffled by the badger effect

Sir David Attenborough, as I mentioned only the other day, is concerned that our urban population has so little experience of wildlife. All they are likely to see in the course of their lives are pigeons and rats, he says.

He may well be right about this. But one thing is reasonably certain – namely that they will never see a badger. Even those of us who live in the country are unlikely ever to catch sight of a live specimen, though occasionally a corpse may be seen lying at the roadside. The reason is that they only come out at night.

So how come 61 per cent of the population are reported to be opposed to the culling of a creature that they have never seen – one which is known to be savage, smelly and the cause of TB in cattle? Why are the correspondence columns filled with letters day after day defending these obnoxious and virtually invisible animals?

It all points to the extraordinary hold that TV personalities like Sir David and Bill Oddie have over public opinion. There is not much any of us can do about it except to reflect that at least we are luckier than the French, who now find that thanks to the efforts of the wildlife brigade, their country is being overrun by ravenous wolves.



React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Read Next
A teenage girl uses her smartphone in bed.  

Remove smartphones from the hands of under-18s and maybe they will grow up to be less dumb

Janet Street-Porter
Rohingya migrants in a boat adrift in the Andaman Sea last week  

Burma will regret shutting its eyes to the fate of the Rohingya boat people

Peter Popham
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