Katy Guest: Rant & Rave (31/10/10)

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The Independent Online


If there's one thing worse than buying presents for the person who has everything, it surely must be buying for someone who then publicly disdains your gift. Is someone in your family notoriously hard to shop for? Oh, you've no idea. Ask Francis Rossi, who gave David Cameron a 200-year-old whisky. He received a thank you note, promising to save it "until Sam's going 'down, down'" (er, what?). But, now the giftlist's been published, Rossi knows that it's really been donated toward "official entertainment". Man, the civil servants' Christmas party must go with a bang.

Hamid Karzai, meanwhile, gave Cameron a lovely bowl. Not lovely enough for him to shell out to keep it, though. Government documents don't record where it went, but I'd hate to be Cameron if it's holding pot pourri in the Champs-Elysées the next time Karzai visits the Sarkozys. And don't you just hate it when you turn up with your thoughtful gift, only to find an identical one already there? Imagine how Mayor Bloomberg felt, then, when he handed Cameron his second iPad.

It's definitely worse, though, to see it flogged on eBay. Imagine if you gave Tony Blair a titanium watch, and then his wife sold it for £98. Poor Berlusconi must have wept when he saw those words: "Unused, in original box".

It's far more gratifying to give to the man who has nothing, so spare a thought for Nick Clegg: the recipient of no official gifts this year. Think of the warm feeling you'd get from contributing to his gift list. Perhaps George Orwell's Animal Farm – or a copy of the Lib Dem manifesto....


I bought my car insurance through Comparethemarket.com this year. I don't know if it's a better deal; I just really like the ad. I'm not the only one: the company's profits have risen by about £10m since it signed up the handsome meerkat Aleksandr Orlov, whose not-yet-published autobiography has already outsold Tony Blair's (and I bet he keeps his watches).

It is so exciting to see a good new idea that I'll probably buy the book, too. No more memoirs by Katie Price! No more adverts about unconvincing insurance couples! Just treat the customer like an intelligent adult and they'll sign up. Simples!