Matthew Norman on Monday: Courageous Kelvin is a delicate petal

The shadow of poverty looms in Ed Miliband's conference speech; Boris scores an own goal on World Cup '66, and an apology to the Church of Scientology

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The Independent Online

Try not to look on this as special pleading for a dear old friend, but the character assassination of Kelvin MacKenzie must cease forthwith. One weeny mistake over Hillsborough – hardly, as his courageous demand for an apology from South Yorkshire police makes plain, his fault anyway – must not besmirch his reputation. From recent coverage, the naïve might assume that an editor is responsible for the headlines he writes and the reports he prints against his colleague’s advice.

Even those who should know better fall into the trap. “It was my decision and my decision alone to do that front page in that way,” another Kelvin MacKenzie, pictured, once recalled, “and I made a rather serious error.”  Heaven knows how this second Kelvin came by such a notion. The truth is better captured by the analysis of Sun exclusives that proved a touch parsimonious with the actualité made, long ago, by yet a third Kelvin MacKenzie: “When I published those stories, they were not lies. They were great stories that later turned out to be untrue – and that is different. What am I supposed to feel ashamed about?” Is this not the very argument so persuasively advanced, regarding Iraq, by Mr Tony Blair? As with a rival Trinity, it is an intellectual challenge too far to comprehend where one Kelvin begins and another ends. Ultimately, it boils down to the very quality he invested in the police: it is a matter of blind faith. Whether or not the BBC retains it, and continues to book him for Question Time, I do and forever shall.

Dom’s tax arguments are just genius

Concerns mount that Dominic Mohan, the present editor of The Sun, concentrates too much of his cerebral firepower on the leader column, at the expense of showbiz and sport. Take this from yesterday. “The mansion tax is set for a comeback. Why? Because it was a great idea? No. If it had been, David Cameron wouldn’t have axed it from the last Budget.” A devastating argument, recalling how passionately Dom welcomed all the great ideas (granny tax, pasty tax, and so on) Mr Cameron was happy to leave in the Budget. Dom’s a genius, and no mistake.

The shadow of poverty looms

Good luck to Ed Miliband with tomorrow’s speech, which will apparently focus on being a comprehensive kid who, while others were pelting the town oiks of Slough with golden sovereigns, rose four hours before he went to bed in a pot hole on the M1. Sadly, there may be no room in the moving address for a paean to his brother David, who reprises his popular prince-across-the-water act by making only a fleeting appearance at the conference. Even if David happens to be off earning a few bob, what of it? Those exposed to the sort of gruelling childhood the Milibandroids’ endured, in the shadow of Hampstead’s dark, satanic millionaire’s rows, never lose the terror of poverty. Did Cherie teach us nothing at all?

Advice for Danny:  do not be tempted

If The Sunday Times is right about Danny Alexander having put together a leadership campaign team, lest Nick Clegg suddenly fall, the advice to Danny is briefly put. Don’t. Be. Silly.

Boris’s ignorance of sporting history

That Bullingdon competitive streak hits a new zenith with Boris Johnson, pictured, attempting to trump the PM in the field of staggering ignorance. “I was only 2” is Boris’s explanation for citing Bobby Moore as the hat-trick scorer in 1966. Well said. It’s crazy to expect a chap to know about obscure events he didn’t sentiently live through. I mean, it’s hardly as if Boris ever presented a TV documentary based on his own book about the Roman Empire.

An apology to the Church of Scientology

The Church of Scientology: an apology. Along with other know-nothing media twerps, I have from time to time ridiculed this religion as a less than bona fide faith. I now learn from a tabloid that Scientologists recently addressed Tottenham Hotspur players about the evils of drugs. In light of Spurs 3-2 win at Old Trafford on Saturday, I apologise to Scientology for doubting dianetics and other central tenets of this fine religion. We also ask Daniel Levy, the club’s adorably pointy-headed chairman, to rename the club Tottenham Hubbards, and to replace the cockerel as club emblem with a Mission Impossible publicity shot of Tom Cruise, pictured.