Matthew Bell: The IoS Diary

One eye on the Moon, the other on the stars

Share

What is the point of Mihir Bose, the BBC's sports editor? This is the question many viewers have been asking since watching his interview with Real Madrid honcho Florentino Perez, conducted at great expense but eliciting almost no new information.

A mere 16 seconds of the interview was used on BBC News, but Bose's blog about it drew scathing comments. "Nowhere in the article does it say anything of interest to anyone," says one. "It seems that again the BBC have gone on holiday and used the public money for it," adds another. Bose's visit to Madrid follows an excursion to Munich by Newsnight economics editor Stephanie Flanders, after the question of whether Britain and Germany can become more alike popped into her head. But a BBC spokesman defends Bose: "This was the first sit-down interview with Fernando Perez since his return to president of Real Madrid. It covered a range of areas including the speculation about the Real Madrid debt... Mihir was in Madrid for one night, with one cameraman, and he also covered a story about Madrid bidding for the 2016 Olympics. Value for money is always taken into consideration."

***

Conductor Sir Edward Downes had a close association with the Royal Opera House stretching over more than half a century, but you wouldn't have known it had you been there on Tuesday night. News of his joint suicide with his wife in Switzerland was given wall-to-wall coverage by the BBC, with whose Philharmonic Orchestra he also worked closely, but it was quite a different story at Covent Garden. Audience members for that evening's performance of Tosca were astonished that no mention was made of Sir Edward's death, not least as he was an expert on Verdi and had conducted Tosca there. "We are arranging something linked to Verdi for Edward Downes in the future," says a spokesman. "We were still taking in the information on Tuesday." In your own time, chaps.

***

Much intrigue surrounds the shock defection of crabby colonial author V S Naipaul from his agent Gillon Aitken to Andrew "the Jackal" Wylie. "Gillon and V S were really close friends, so it is much more than just a professional rift," whispers one friend. The separation is believed to have been caused by Wylie, who would have lured Naipaul away from Aitken with the promise of more money and glory. While Wylie is famed for his ruthless business sense, a recent biography of Naipaul claimed he was equally hard-headed, keeping a mistress for 24 years whom he then refused to marry when his wife died, opting for a third woman. Wylie was once a business partner of Aitken's, who acted as a kind of mentor when they ran the agency Aitken, Stone and Wylie. All this has left Aitken feeling doubly betrayed, I'm told, although an associate says he isn't the energetic agent he once was. At least he didn't seem to have enough energy to return my call.

***

It's hard enough for MPs to work out their loyalties in Westminster, but Ed Balls has the added headache of divided loyalties among his constituents. As his constituency of Normanton has been abolished, he will be running for nearby Morley and Outwood at the next election. But it hasn't taken Ballsy too long to work out where his priority lies – with the next lot, of course! Prospective voters in Morley have been invited to Ed's Fajita Fling this Friday, a jolly soirée at the Labour Rooms with free food and drink. The invitation shows Ed's already got himself an address in the constituency, whose incumbent MP Colin Challen has been gracefully elbowed out the way to assist Balls's unstoppable ascent. His loyal wife and neighbouring MP, Yvette Cooper, below, will doubtless be there, but the poor folk of Normanton are already but a distant memory.

***

Those green shoots Baroness Vadera once spoke of finally sprouted last week when JP Chase Morgan, the US banking giant, announced profits of £1.6bn for the second quarter. "It was a truly positive surprise which does away with the question of whether we actually have reached the end of the crisis," said one happy soul. Trebles all round then, not least chez Blair, where Cherie is getting over swine flu. One of Tony's many jobs is in a "senior advisory role" at JP Morgan, salary not unadjacent to £2m a year. Kerching!

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

Savvy Media Ltd: Media Sales executive - Crawley

£25k + commission + benefits: Savvy Media Ltd: Find a job you love and never h...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Solicitor NQ+ Oxford

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Muslim men pray at the East London Mosque  

Sadly, it needs to be said again: being a Muslim is not a crime

Yasmin Alibhai Brown
In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible