Congratulations to Andrew Feldman on his appointment as Prime Ministerial Tennis Partner

Plus: If Ed Miliband is serious about making it to Downing Steet, he must appoint his own Tennis Partner without delay. I suggest Buster Mottram


Even those who castigate David Cameron for his lack of conviction over the trivia, such as social policy and Europe, must acknowledge his refusal to compromise in the one paramount sphere. His commitment to proving himself the “heir to Blair” remains unshakable, as the row over what Andrew Feldman may have said about Tory activists confirms. Any doubt over why the Prime Minister made Lord Feldman, below, his party chairman is removed. Having studied the precedent of what Lord Levy did for Mr Tony’s reputation, the PM had the common sense to place an ennobled tennis partner of his own in a position from which he could inflict maximum damage. It must be stated that Lord F rigorously denies calling Tory activists “mad, swivel-eyed loons”, just as Levy convincingly denied (though interviewed under police caution over cash for honours, he was never prosecuted) promising titles to the generous donors with whom he and Mr T often played Sunday doubles on his Totteridge court. I pity the fool, to borrow from an earlier Mr T, who does not accept Lord Feldman’s version of events, and will outline below why it was a plain and simple mishearing. For now, we demand that the role of Prime Ministerial Tennis Partner, with responsibility for endangering the PM’s career, becomes an official government post with full cabinet rank.

New doubles partners: Miliband and Mottram

If Ed Miliband is serious about making it to Downing Steet (an open question once again, it seems, with renewed rumblings about his performance), he must appoint his own Tennis Partner without delay. The stand-out candidate is Buster Mottram, who in the 1970s juggled his duties as Britain’s top tennis player with voluble support for the National Front. The good news is that Mr Mottram is available, having been expelled from Ukip in 2008 for trying to broker an electoral pact between Nigel Farage’s “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists” (© David Cameron) and the enchanting Nick Griffin’s BNP. What cuter way to counter Ukip’s appeal to traditional Labour voters could there be than handing the shadow Tennis Partner portfolio to Mr Mottram?

Mad mix-up of words about Uncle Marty

Returning to Andrew Feldman and what he insists he never said, off the record, at a reception last week, I am pleased to settle this vexing matter to the satisfaction of all concerned. His lordship was in fact reminiscing about his great uncle Marty Feldman, the madcap comedian who often swivelled his dramatically bulging eyes (the result of the auto-immune disorder, Graves’ disease) for laughs. Over all the clinking of glasses, someone misinterpreted Andrew’s fond reference to his relative, who starred in Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein. Mishearings of the kind are not unknown in British politics (John Major’s disastrous “back to basics” was in fact a reference to a private visit to the gnome warehouse where he operated a forklift truck as a young man; “back to bay six” is what he actually said), and this was an easy mistake anyone might have made. Now let that be an end to it before a civil war breaks out.

No tax avoidance at News Corporation

A joy to find Margaret Hodge using Sky News’s Sunrise show as the bully pulpit from which to rail against the evil tax avoidance of Google. “We all have responsibilities to the community” she pointed out, and who will argue with that? Certainly not News Corporation, the largest shareholder in Sky News. If any multinational has gone the extra mile to avoid avoiding its tax liabilities, it is News Corp under Rupert Murdoch. At the last count, in 2011, it operated as few as 136 subsidiaries in nations identified by the US government as tax havens.

Members’ discount for Mad Mel’s merchandise

There is no word yet about the very early performance of Melanie Phillips’ new online merchandising company. One assumes that the mugs, iPhone cases and other items – all adorned with the official Mad Mel logo, loosely styled after an ecstasy tablet – are flying off the  e-shelves. But if business is slow, the advice to the one-woman Amazon manquée is to deploy husband Joshua Rozenberg as an agent in the field. Joshua is believed to spend a great deal of his time at the Garrick Club these days, and if this summer is half as wet as last year, he could make her a fortune by setting up a stall in the members’ bar.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page


General Election 2015: The SNP and an SMC (Salmond-Murdoch Conspiracy)

Matthew Norman
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk