Poor old Cliff Richard is the latest to fall victim to the curse of being Tony Blair’s pal

Who would want to join a club that has Gaddafi and Berlusconi as its members?


Returning once again to the Curse of Mr Tony Blair’s Friendship, I hear two familiar pieces of music coalescing into an eerie mash-up. The first is The Twilight Zone signature tune.

In July 2011, I reflected here on the horror that afflicts those whom Mr Tony Blair sees fit to make his buddies, the catalogue of victims including the Middle Eastern trio of Hosni Mubarak, Colonel Gaddafi, and Bashar al-Assad; Rupert Murdoch (at the time, Mr T’s beloved Rebekah Brooks had yet to resign as  News International chief executive  or be charged with the offences of which she was recently acquitted); and Silvio Berlusconi, who was convicted of corruption before the Italian justice system saw fit to clear him on appeal.

In the light of what follows, you will understand why I now ask the DJ to cue the do-do-doooo-do do-do-doooo-do of the Twilight Zone sig. “God knows who's next,” so that 2011 item on the Curse concluded, “but right now you wouldn't want to be Sir Cliff Richard.” Poor Cliff. After all the years of moaning about being banned by the BBC, when the Beeb finally deigned to return him back on the airwaves it was alongside South Yorkshire police as they raided his Berkshire flat.

And so to the second tune. With the accusation of having abused an under-age boy, which Cliff describes as completely false, Cliff becomes the third hoster of a Mr T Summer Holiday to succumb to the Curse. Mubarak had Blair to stay at his house in Sharm el-Sheikh, Berlusconi entertained him on his yacht, and Cliff put his Bajan villa at the Blairs’ disposal.

If Mr T’s money-making endeavours should ever falter, he could consider recording an updated version of the Cliff classic. “We’re all going on a summer holiday/ No more working for a week or two/ Fun and laughter on our summer holiday/ And a court case somewhere down the line for you.”


Jewish Chronicle editor needs his own Iron Dome

Journalistic courage under fire being a rare commodity, we mark it when we may. So hats off to Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard. Stephen has apologised to those among his readership for the “upset” caused them by the advertisement seeking donations for the victims of Gaza, and blamed the JC’s chairman for accepting it.

Reading between the lines, however, we credit Stephen with running it in the full knowledge that it would provoke screeching hysteria and threats of cancelled subscriptions from those who equate the urge to relieve civilians suffering with supporting Hamas. He might have added is that if the readers are upset, then they’ll just have to get un-upset again. But faced with all that incoming, he’d have needed an editorial Iron Dome to risk that.


Ross’s Radio 2 return opens old Sachsgate sores

I become increasingly concerned by the Family Sachs’s failure to treat the prank call visited upon Andrew’s answerphone with sufficient gravity. Even the news that Jonathan Ross is to return to Radio 2, as cover for Steve Wright cannot penetrate their blasé indifference. “It’s inapproproate and I think it’s disgusting,” the actor’s wife, Melody, tells the Daily Mail. “It’s like a slap in the face for us.”

With just six years having elapsed since they were exposed to Ross and Russell Brand’s double act, what concerns me is that they are still in denial. One admires the stoical refusal to dwell on the incident. But the dangers of taking the ostrich position after a truly grotesque trauma are well known, and without intensive treatment for the post-traumatic shock the process of recovery cannot properly begin.


Living in a parallel universe with IDS

Once again, Iain Duncan Smith is pleased to allow the rest of us a glimpse in to the parallel universe that is his retreat from life as the rent-free resident of his father-in-law’s Buckinghamshire mansion. The latest insight finds IDS indulging his favourite hobby of dismissing as fiction what all else accept as carefully compiled and accurate statistics - in this case, that two thirds of those struggling financially due to his bedroom tax are disabled.

Although the figure comes from an equality impact assessment conducted by his own Work and Pensions department, Iain is happy to ignore the figure since it is based, he points out, on “self-declarations”. Well, he has a point. You just can’t trust the wheelchair-bound to be honest about their physical condition, can you? A quarter of them won a bronze in the pole vault at the Athens Olympics, and another 23 per cent took to their chairs when they woke up feeling a bit tired one day, and were too lazy to give them up when their energy levels returned to normal.


Don’t ask me about independence, says Tennant. What a hero

Less than a week before Peter Capaldi’s Doctor Who debut, the last Scottish Timelord shares some pithy thoughts on the independence question. “As I chose to leave Scotland many years ago, I forfeited my right to tell Scottish residents how to run the country,” David Tennant drolly informs the Sunday Times. Well said, sir. One could point out that he left his home planet in a stolen Tardis even longer ago, and that never stopped him interfering in Gallifrey’s Time War against the Daleks, but that might verge on the pedantic.

“Anyway,” adds Tennant, “there is nothing more odious than actors foisting their opinions around.” Thank God someone said it. That’s the business of columnists such as Armchair Field Marshall The Lord (David) Aaronovitch of The Times,  and other major thinkers who have signed open letters on independence despite not having a corpuscle of Scottish blood.

We wouldn't need to recall Parliament if it worked on the same schedule as the rest of us do
The tragic tale of Tilbury's migrants exposes the hopelessness of our immigration system  

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: Graphic Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £38,000

£16000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Parts Sales Advisor - OTE 18k-23k

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of Ford's leading Parts Who...

SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Do you want to learn ...

Day In a Page

Read Next

No wonder 1,000 women a year are getting abortions because of extreme morning sickness. When I was suffering, my doctor said it would 'cure' me

Jo Crosby

Election catch-up: It looks more and more as if we should get used to Prime Minister Miliband

John Rentoul
Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders