It is my grave duty to warn Mr Tony Blair of embarrassment ahead. David Lawley-Wakelin, the heroic figure who interrupted Mr T’s Leveson appearance in May with the accusation of war crimes, is scheduled to discuss the matter with Highgate magistrates on 16 November.
Speaking exclusively from the front steam room of a Turkish baths, Lawley-Wakelin, pictured right, reveals that he has been charged under the Public Order Act’s contentious Section 5, which covers “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour”. Critics of Section 5, such as Peter Tatchell, will contend that speaking truth to power is something a vibrant democracy should welcome, rather than seek to punish with a maximum £2,500 fine.
Still, a scandalised Lord L wanted him charged, and Lawley-Wakelin is considering whether to subpoena Mr Blair, who dismissed the incident as water off a duck’s back, for the defence. Since the ex-PM is the only credible victim, however, the prosecution may have to summon him as a witness.
One way or t’other, the poor lamb must expect a November recall from peace-spreading duties. It is shaping into quite an ordeal. Lawley-Wakelin has invited his Blairite war crimes compadre, Desmond Tutu, to join him before the Highgate beaks, and I hope to bring you the Archbish’s reply next week.
Throwing down the Gaunt gauntlet
Good news for fellow fans of Jon Gaunt. Gaunty’s career has not thrived since his sackings by TalkSport and The Sun. However, in an echo of the Met’s triumph in hiring the News of the World’s eighth wit Neil Wallis, the West Midlands Police Federation is taking PR advice from Gaunty in its remorseless efforts to get Sutton Coldfield’s Tory MP, Andrew Mitchell, fired as Chief Whip. “After masterminding this cops campaign,” tweet-advertises the stranger to the intemperate rant who shouted “Nazi” and “health Nazi” at a councillor on air, “if you want to use the Gaunt Brothers, get in touch.” Who could resist? One day, the boys might launch a website. Until then, the best way to contact them appears to be driving through Coventry yelling: “Gaunties? Gaunties?” through a megaphone until a uniformed pleb points you in the right direction.
Sober reflections on Savile’s abuse
The finest leader on l’affaire Savile to date was “A Lesson For Leveson” in yesterday’s Mail on Sunday, which warned the judge not to tamper with press freedom to look into stories of compelling public interest. The logic is overpowering. For the four decades during which tabloids intercepted royal calls, hacked phones, bought medical records, etc, they were too constricted by restraints on their freedom to investigate an open secret. God forbid that Kelvin MacKenzie and his ilk should take any shame. It is, after all, infinitely more likely that a BBC director-general would hear the gossip, week in and week out, than a red-top editor.
Questions the BBC execs must answer
Meanwhile, in his capacity as an erstwhile D-G, Greg Dyke went on Radio 4’s Any Questions? to dismiss the notion that senior BBC execs turned a deaf ’un to the Savile gossip. “They are men of great integrity,” said Dyke of a couple he named, ending the argument by citing one as “a devout Catholic”. Genius. So is the Pope, of course, and what brand of fantasist would accuse him of ever turning a blind eye to child abuse?
Mensch seems made up in Manhattan
Tremendous to see Louise Mensch, pictured left, writing regularly in both The Times and The Sun since her move to New York. Our most spirited defender of the Murdochs delighted us with her select committee badinage with James Murdoch back in July 2011, when she came close to arranging a play-date for their kids. However lucrative her News International word rate, I won’t hear a dickie bird about that being a rare case of mixing pleasure with future business.
Mail nails the issue
The Headline of the Week award goes to the Daily Mail for Saturday’s anger-fuelled, front-page meisterwork: “GPs Told They Must Treat foreigners”. Apparently, if a Moroccan or Chilean turns up at the surgery with chest pains, human rights prevents him being chucked out to die on the street. How many times must PC go mad before we commit it to the asylum for good?