Village People: The mark of a good autobiographer

Related Topics

Lord Mandelson has promised that his forthcoming memoirs will "ruffle some feathers". He ought to have a good story to tell because he has been around for so long and has held so many important political jobs, but let us hope he remembers that the best anecdotes are those that mark someone's character strongly.

Like the story Lord Trimble tells about when he was Northern Ireland's First Secretary, paying a call on Lord Mandelson, the Northern Ireland Secretary, at his official residence, Hillsborough Castle. Their conversation did not go well. In fact, Peter M became so exasperated that he stood up behind his desk, drew himself up to his full height, and told Trimble: "Get out of my house!"

Aspiring Lib Dem deputy adopts unpopular stance

Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, who is currently running against Simon Hughes to be deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, deserves credit for putting principles before electoral convenience. He represents one of the most rural seats in the country, where beef farming is a major contributor to the local economy. Mr Farron is a vegetarian.

Paisley Jnr takes place in political home from home

"I can be forgiven for coming to this place to spend a little bit more time with my family," said the newly elected MP for North Antrim, Ian Paisley junior. It was a jokey reference to the announcement of a peerage for his father, Ian senior. But Parliament must be home from home for the Paisley family. Two years ago, when MPs were hit by allegations of family nepotism in Parliament, there were five Paisleys based in the Village. Dad was an MP, Mum was Baroness Paisley, and the children Ian junior, Cherith and Rhonda all had paid jobs in Dad's Commons office.

Recent arrival in the House outstays her welcome

Luciana Berger, a bright, ambitious southerner who found her way up the M6 to become Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree, attracted some ridicule earlier in the year when the Liverpool Echo discovered that she had not heard of Bill Shankly and did not know who recorded "Ferry Cross the Mersey". Her maiden speech to Parliament this week was a valiant effort to make amends. She name-checked just about everybody from history with any link to that part of Liverpool, from John Lennon to Bessie Braddock. But she either had not heard or had forgotten the rule that maiden speeches should be brief. Ms Berger was in the middle of telling her fellow MPs about her famous great uncle, Manny Shinwell, when the Deputy Speaker politely but firmly instructed her that time was up. A lot of new MPs have now made their maiden speeches, but so far only one has suffered the indignity of being told to shut up.

The dilemma that dogs MPs' maiden speeches

Gavin Shuker, another twenty-something new MP, also caught it last week over his maiden speech, though he followed the unwritten rules meticulously. It is laid down that new MPs must pay tribute to their predecessors, no matter what their records may have been.

Shuker delivered a few factual remarks about the woman he has replaced as MP for Luton South, without really praising her at all, and yet, according to his local radio station, Three Counties Radio, it was enough to set off outraged calls from listeners. The woman in question was Margaret Moran, whose career was brought to a shuddering halt by the expenses scandal. This creates a dilemma for every other new MP who has replaced someone forced out by the expenses furore, some of whom are accused of worse abuses than Ms Moran.

Tory sartorial pledges – can we believe them?

Mike Weatherley, Tory MP for Hove, made a speech that was "maiden" in more senses than one, including as it did a promise to be the first MP to wear an Iron Maiden T-shirt in the Commons. It is to be hoped that he proves more of a man of his word than the Tory blogger Iain Dale, who pledged on election night that if the exit poll predicting a hung Parliament proved to be right, he would run naked down Whitehall. The poll was spot on. Mr Dale's clothes have been on, too. You just can't trust a Tory.

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: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Errors & Omissions: how to spell BBQ and other linguistic irregularities

Guy Keleny

South Africa's race problem is less between black and white than between poor blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa

John Carlin
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
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own