Max Clifford played a crucial role in the conviction of Jonathan King. Now the roles have been reversed

Plus, Louise Mensch really knows glamour when she sees it



It may read like the treatment for one of those surreally abysmal British “comedies” – in which canny tax planners invest  £100,000 for £1m in tax relief when it fails – but this highly curious sub-plot to Max Clifford’s downfall is drawn from real life.

It is common knowledge that, by persuading a man who approached him to go to the police, Clifford was the catalyst for Jonathan King’s seven-year sentence for sexual offences involving underage boys in the 1970s. But not known until now is that King played a spookily reciprocal role in guiding Clifford to his own eight-year stretch as one of Her Majesty’s most cherished house guests.

At a lunch after he had emerged from jug in 2005, so King relates, friends of his mentioned that a friend of theirs had told them horrendous stories about Clifford abusing her when she was 15. This was the key witness whose letter to Clifford, in which she told him how he had driven her close to suicide, was discovered by police in the drawer of his bedside table.

King relates that, via those mutual friends, he “kept nagging her to make a complaint,” though as the unnamed  woman confirmed in Saturday’s Daily Mail, she refused to do so while her mother was still alive. A central factor  in persuading her to do so after she died in 2012, says King, “was the hypocrisy when Max gloated over destroying me and said he had a letter from Surrey Police thanking him hanging on his office wall.”  It was the same Surrey force that found  the letter from the friend of King’s friend by Clifford’s bed.

Before independent producers with offshore investors become overexcited,  King has himself already made a film which covers this revenger tale of indecently perfect symmetry. Vile Pervert – The Sequel is available on Youtube.

Off to patronising male dinosaur boot camp, Kelvin

While the agonised perplexity with which he switches between denying, admitting, denying, begging forgiveness for, and denying using the N-word raises concerns that Jeremy Clarkson has developed Kelvin MacKenzie Disorder by Proxy, the original sufferer has happily resurfaced.

The fall-out from Kelvin’s daily struggle to remember if he should apologise for The Sun’s coverage of the Hillsborough disaster seemed to have ended his media career. Yet the BBC likes to moonlight as a life-support machine for comatose media careers of its most frothing enemies (see the incessant booking of Alastair Campbell), and to this end the old goat was booked for Radio 4’s Question Time last week.

In those few seconds allowed me before an involuntary muscle spasm sent the finger to the mute button, Kelvin was engaged in debate about Max Clifford with that splendid poverty campaigner Jack Monroe, who felt that eight years was no outrageous sentence. “Listen,” said Kelvin, imperiously, to this extremely bright young woman, “and learn.” And still those pesky feminists bang on about patronising male dinosaurs. Tony Benn called himself the teaching assistant in the nation’s classroom. If the amnesia isn’t too ravaging, perhaps Kelvin might apply for the vacancy.

So who to replace Paxman? Keith Harris and Orville?

The opening show of betting on Jeremy Paxman’s successor as Newsnight supremo finds Laura Kuenssberg installed as 15-8 favourite, with Eddie Mair on 7-2. He would be an odds-on chance, but the sharp irony he deploys on R4’s PM is rumoured to be the subject of a nervous internal BBC memo headed “HazWit”. Bracketed on 9s, are Emily Maitlis,  Mishal Husain, the late Peggy Mount, and Stephanie Flanders, while Robert Peston is a 12-1 shot.

Jim Naughtie is 16-1 “with a run” (if the show is extended from 45 minutes to four hours to accommodate the languor of his questions), and Keith Harris and Orville are available at 25-1 when paired (or 50-1 individually). A bunch on 33s includes Huw Edwards, Fiona Bruce, Dame Kiri te Kanawa, Paul Mason, Kirsty Wark and the construction worker from the Village People. It’s 66-1 bar those.

Kay Burley, the Sky News stalwart who announced the destruction of the entire US eastern seaboard on September 11, looks short-priced at 250-1.

Mensch knows glamour when she sees it

The probability that Peaches Geldof died from a heroin overdose entices a typically sensitive response from Louise Mensch. Louise, who once admitted that her cerebral functions had been compromised by Class A use, describes parents of young children such as Peaches and Philip Seymour Hoffman who use the drug as “unutterably selfish”, “revolting”,  and – raiding her thesaurus in the quest for variety – “disgusting”.

“It’s time we stopped making them into tragic heroes,” she concludes in another Sun on Sunday masterpiece. “Before other young parents get the wrong bloody message.” And she is of course  right. If one thing is guaranteed to glamorise heroin, it’s the sudden death of a 25-year-old mother of two infants.

No wonder ‘The Sun’  has fallen for Javid

The new culture, media and sport secretary makes a confident start in at least one area of his hybrid portfolio. Sajid Javid may not be mad about sport, and his cultural interests seem to begin and end with Star Trek, but his instant declaration that newspapers will be left to regulate themselves shows a sure touch for handling the media. It’s sycophancy, Jim, and just as we knew it in the pre-Milly Dowler glory days of the Murdoch imperium.

In a leader The Sun seems besotted with him, and a small ante-post punt on the slightly Vulcan bus driver’s son to swing the pendulum sharply away from the Bullingdon end of the spectrum when David Cameron departs seems indicated.

@Matthew JNorman

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operations & Logistics Manager

£38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...

Recruitment Genius: GeoDatabase Specialist - Hazard Modelling

£35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...

Recruitment Genius: Compressed Air Pipework Installation Engineer

£15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Pallet Network

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Letter from the Political Editor: With 100 days still to go how will Cameron, Miliband and Co. keep us all engaged?

Andrew Grice
A solar energy farm in France  

Nature Studies: For all the attractions of solar power, it shouldn’t blight the countryside

Michael McCarthy
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea