How come no one loves my old mate Norman?

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The Independent Online
LIKE ALL extremely nice people, I tend to be on the side of the underdog, or at least feel sorry for him. Poor old Norman Lamont. Nobody likes him, do they? Except for him. There was a very funny picture on the front of Thursday's Daily Telegraph of him enjoying the sound of his own voice after Wednesday night's European vote, with Gerald Kaufman walking past giggling in the background with "What a prat!" written all over his face. A case of the pot calling the kettle black, some might say (well, actually everybody would definitely say). His own side seem to quite like Teddy Taylor, Teresa Gorman and the rest of the Whipless Tories, but they're queuing up to slag Lamont off. Perhaps it is because he is personally unpleasant - I know someone who used to work for him and she says he is utterly foul - or perhaps it is his unconventional tactics. He seems to sit quietly most of the time and then out of the blue he makes a lot of noise. I think he fancies himself as a bit of a sniper, but he's more like a disturbed child who bottles everything up and then suddenly has a temper tantrum and smashes the crockery. Far from being a thorn in the Government's side, he unites his party in loathing him. Poor Norman, from Chancellor and architect of Mr Major's leadership to backbencher about to lose his seat from boundary changes. He should retire and write his autobiography, Desperately Seeking Attention, and do book signings at Waterstones which no one will go to, and we can all buy remaindered copies as Christmas presents for people we hate.

I WENT to a lunch recently and Gerald Kaufman was there. He is a quite ridiculous man. He didn't shut up with his daft opinions for two-and-a- half hours. Even during the speeches, when I tried to shhh! him, he continued his relentless monologue in a low but still piercing drone. He seems to be on some body trying to revive the British Film Industry (yawn). His opening remark was "Four Weddings and a Funeral is one of the worst films ever made." Not "I see why people liked it, but I'm afraid I didn't" or "You liked it? Yes, lots of people obviously did, but I just couldn't see it", but "Four Weddings and a Funeral is one of the worst films ever made." That awful dogmatic politician-speak which demands the reply "Gosh! Gerald! How controversial! Why do you think that?" and allows him to launch into a half-hour monologue. In my experience nearly all politicians are like this, Peter Brooke being a rare and delightful exception. It is a great pity, because politicians shouldn't be held in such low regard. It's just that their honourable desire to serve their country is always smothered by their greater desire to hear their own voices. Having said that, the lunch would have been a good deal less fun without the company of Gerald the Daft.

I HAVE a dear friend called Kate St John who is a musical genius. Formerly with the appropriately named group, The Ravishing Beauties, she is currently half of the amusingly named Channel Light Vessel Automatic as well as playing for Van Morrison (if you have been to see him in the last couple of years, she is the one on the right who plays oboe, saxophone and tenor sax and you can't take your eyes off). Anyway, she's just recorded a solo album, to be released in the summer, and guess what ? She's thinking of putting a holiday snap I took of her on the front cover! This is fantastic news as my passport is nearly up for renewal, and I never know what to put under "profession". "Comedian" sounds ridiculous. I can't put "actor" because I'm not an actor, I'm an over-actor. "Writer" sounds pretentious. But now I can put "pop photographer". How glamorous! I will be admired at customs posts the world over.

NICK LEESON, Enemy of Capitalism, having been hunted like a dog across the continents, has finally been tracked down and clapped in irons. I can't wait for his show trial. He should be charged with Crimes against Capitalism, forced to confess, harangued, berated and generally yelled at by an international tribunal of financial institutions until he turns into a gibbering wreck and is hurled into a dungeon for eternity. Or do they still shoot people like him? I bet they wish they did.

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