With his mission to sprinkle the gold dust of enduring peace over the Middle East complete, a fresh challenge awaits Mr Tony Blair.
Mr Tony is absolutely huge in Rwanda, where former Downing Street staffers and charity workers of his festoon Paul Kagame’s government, though the source of his besottedness with that tiny country is disputed. Where Blairite loyalists like myself accept that he is driven solely by the altruistic urge to help Mr Kagame heal the wounds from the genocidal tribal wars of old, cynics and sneerers mutter about Rwanda – devoid of natural resources itself – enriching itself by thieving chunks of neighbouring Congo’s immense mineral wealth. It’s all most confusing.
Anyway, last week the M23 army of renegade Congolese soldiers, widely believed to be backed by Mr Kagame, seized the eastern city of Goma. Whatever the UN thinks to the contrary, Mr Tony will continue to cite his chum as the model of a modern democratic African leader – and recalling his hugging of Gaddafi and deep affection for that other emblem of progressive leadership, Bashar al-Assad, this will be a relief to the dead and dispossessed of the Congo.
But is it enough? Or is it time Mr Tony vacated the Jerusalem hotel and relocated to Goma, to fight for the brutalised and downtrodden there with the same burning commitment he has shown in defence of the Palestinians?
Tulisa shows Sugar she’s not devoid of wit
I am distressed by a Twitter feud between the reticent Tulisa and Alan Sugar. After the boardroom Fauntleroy asked Simon Cowell to sack her from The X-Factor because “she knows nothing and talks rubbish”, the N-Dubz stalwart retaliated by addressing Alan as “u miserable old man”, and telling him he looks like “an angry hobbit”.
One is nervous of taking a position in a high-minded debate best referred to the All Souls High Table, yet his platform-shoed little lordship does rather resemble a livid inhabitant of Middle Earth. If Tulisa could dredge up such choice aperçus for the acts on Cowell’s ailing karaokefest, Bilbo Sugar would accept her right to a judging berth.
Mystic Mogg gives Ed dubious endorsement
Has William Rees-Mogg, our most venerable columnar sage, ever been on finer form? The Times effort in which he compared Ed Miliband to Clement Attlee, after enjoying a “relaxed and agreeable” and even “academic” chat with him, was a masterclass in humility.
Mystic Mogg revealed he has known every Labour leader of the Opposition since Clem, whom he remembers as far back as 1935 when he was seven (Mogg, that is).
Whether Big Ed should relish the endorsement from the Ardnassac of political soothsaying (this reverse Cassandra is trusted in inverse proportion to his predictive accuracy) is his affair. But with this deliciously unsolipsistic piece, the author reminds us of the origins of the time-honoured chant, “Moggy Moggy Moggy, Moi Moi Moi”.
Time buries old Tory rivalries
Less taken with an Ed Miliband comparison – his own, in this case, to Mrs Thatcher – is Malcolm Rifkind. “He has as much claim to the mantle of Margaret Thatcher,” observes Mal, “as Silvio Berlusconi had to that of Julius Caesar”.
Oh my aching ribs. Recollecting that Malcolm virulently disliked Thatch, you assume that he means to challenge Nadine, Peter Bone and a few others for the title Rentaquote Backbencher of the Age. We wish him well in a quest to which he seems better suited than he was to being Foreign Secretary during his brief period of relevance long ago.
Upright Murdoch holds Beeb to account
How bracing to find Rupert Murdoch’s titles still savaging the Beeb over compensation payments. “BBC unveils new chief as anger grows over pay-offs,” thundered The Times’s front page headline on Friday – the day on which a Sun leader asked: “Can it be right that those abused [by Savile] will get a fraction of the compensation paid to disgraced BBC D-G George Entwistle?” Splendid stuff.
We await similar condemnations in both titles of the £7m parting gift from Rupert to disgraced former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks. The failure to denounce that pay-off – about 14 times larger than Mr Entwistle’s, and more lavish than the compensation any hackee has received – is an oversight guaranteed to be corrected forthwith.