Matthew Bell: The IoS Diary (27/06/10)

Just like Glastonbury, only bigger

Share
Related Topics

Christopher Hitchens was in his early 20s when he shot to infamy at the
New Statesman; now his son Alexander is following the dynastic tradition. The 26-year-old researcher and former
Standpoint blogger is at the centre of a bizarre tussle over a profile of him that appeared on the anti-PR website Spinprofiles. In a highly unusual move the entire website was shut down by the internet firm with whom the URL is registered, after Spinprofiles refused to remove the offending article. Lawyers for 1&1 Internet gave no explanation, except to say the piece "included personal information"that Spinprofiles had no permission to use, though they did not elaborate. Having seen the piece, we're mystified as to what they mean. It's unclear who is behind this salvo on free speech, but we hope it's not Hitchens junior.

It's a victory for the IoS. A few weeks ago we wrote that Andrew Neil would be the nation's finest heavyweight political interviewer, if only he would drop the nauseating love-ins with Michael Portillo and Diane Abbott on This Week, his Thursday politics show. Now he has heeded our advice, causing a blogosphere sensation after turning his guns on fellow couchee Diane Abbott last week. In a jaw-dropping five minutes, Neil grilled her on her taxi receipts, her hypocrisy over her son's private schooling, and her apparent racism. Admittedly he plans to do the same to all six candidates for the Labour leadership, but the special relationship will surely never be the same with Abbott, who seemed shocked to be at the sharp end of his tongue. Well worth a watch.

Producers at Big Brother have gone all post-modern by recognising the show is a freak show and dressing the latest series up as such. But in their creative funk they have overlooked some elementary housekeeping. Having sensationally revealed that they are going to re-introduce former contestants into the house at the end of August, they are now, um, finding said contestants are not exactly queuing up to return. "What's in it for us?" asks one former contest-ant. "The pros don't exactly outweigh the cons." Let's hope they've got deep pockets.

Revelations of an affair between Chris Huhne and Carina Trimingham put the tally of coalition scandals at Lib Dems 2, Tories 0. Last weekend's story died away with extraordinary speed, compared to when Robin Cook was forced to make the same choice between wife and mistress early in the Blair administration. No doubt this can be explained by the expert handling of the press by David Cameron's chief spin doctor, the handsomely remunerated Andy Coulson. It is a testament to his professionalism that the damage to Huhne was so effectively limited – only a few months ago Huhne was making Coulson's life very difficult by asking questions over his role in the News of the World phone hacking scandal. How times change!

Prince Charles is being called an interfering booby yet again, and now similar murmurings reach me about Camilla. Ahead of a visit to the Royal Show in Cornwall, she made it known that other ladies needn't bother to wear a hat. I'm told this caused a great deal of upset among some who had gone to the trouble of buying one. "A lot of ladies spend a lot of money on their hats and are very disappointed when they don't have a chance to wear them," huffs one Hyacinth Bucket. Surely they could have worn them anyway – after all, Prince Charles wore a suit and tie to Glastonbury last week, which some might consider overdressing.

At the risk of appearing to be obsessed with Charles Moore, the former Daily Telegraph editor, this column is fascinated to learn yet another vignette about Lord Snooty's youth, from his sister, Charlotte. A few months ago she revealed young Chazza used to like nothing better than to steal their maidservant's hat and dance around in it. Now, writing in The Guardian, she says that as a teenager he would peel the labels off the wine drunk at Sunday lunch and paste them on his bedroom door. She has got a book to plug, but really, are none of his embarrassing secrets safe?

m.bell@independent.co.uk

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

After Savile, we must devote our energies to stopping the child abuse taking place now

Mary Dejevsky
A ‘hugely irritated’ Sir Malcolm Rifkind on his way home from Parliament on Monday  

Before rushing to criticise Malcolm Rifkind, do you know how much being an MP can cost?

Isabel Hardman
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower