THE BOX

Share
On Wednesday evening, Harriet Harman was feeling a bit lonely, which is understandable, since she's lost so many of her old chums in the Labour Party as a result of the debacle about cuts to single mothers' benefits. Harriet decided to ring up a few newspapers for a comforting natter. Just a few: The Sun, The Times and The Guardian. In the cold light of Thursday morning she may wish she had drunk a cup of cocoa and retired early to bed. For the public relations fall-out from her late- night telephone binge was not entirely friendly. The three newspapers she did telephone all hailed "battling" Harriet, the supposed victor over Gordon Brown in a struggle to introduce tax relief for low paid working couples and single parents. But The Mirror, whom she did not ring, carried a headline on page two that declared, "Why Harriet Must Go". Nor was the spurned Daily Mail very happy; it described a leak "to selected newspapers by a senior minister last night in a desperate campaign to quell the seething discontent on Labour's backbenches". Of course Harriet didn't ring me either, but there are no hard feelings here at The Box. So the next time, Hattie, you want a sympathetic shoulder to cry on and a bit of a palaver, just you ring Pandora, alright luv?

With Germaine Greer back in the news, it's worthwhile to recall that she played an important part in revealing the true character of President Bill Clinton. In the early 1970s, shortly after the publication of her landmark feminist tome, The Female Eunuch, Greer spoke at the Oxford Union. When she paused to allow questions from the audience, one drawling young man leapt to his feet. "Can I ask what is your telephone number?" That young man was Bill Clinton. (The imagination reels. A wild surge of hillbilly violins playing the theme from the film `Deliverance'. Cut to exterior of White House. Documentary narrator's voice drones, "Who would have guessed that, almost 30 years later, a jealousy-inflamed First Lady Germaine Clinton would be arrested in the White House. As she was escorted in irons from the building, she shouted at waiting journalists, `So who's the eunuch now? That's one little redneck we sisters don't have to worry about any more.')

It is heartening to see that Alan Clark, Conservative MP for Chelsea and Kensington, will be speaking at London's Institute of Contemporary Art today on "Free Speech Wars". We understand Clark will be available from 11:15am to share his views on the case against a privacy law. The sponsoring organisation? A magazine called Living Marxism. Presumably this grave and distinguished journal does not publish frivolous parodies of politicians, unlike the Evening Standard, so recently taken to court by Clark in a successful bid to muzzle its satirical "diary" about him.

Is it a mid-life crisis or a New Age rebirth? Having left his wife and four children, Anthony Julius QC, chairman of The Diana, Princes of Wales Memorial Fund and the late Princess's divorce lawyer, has quit his partnership and equity at the firm of Mischcon de Reya. He wants to devote himself more to teaching and writing, although he will continue to work three days a week at the firm. He looked very pleased with all his new arrangements on Wednesday evening at the re-opening of the Serpentine Gallery where he arrived with his girlfriend, Dina Rabinovitch, a journalist who contributes to Time Out. His smile faded when he saw a photographer on the scene - but clever Anthony, making his own privacy law, cut a deal with the snapper. He agreed to pose if Dina was left out of the picture. Always the gentleman, that Julius.

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: When is a baroness not a baroness? Titles still cause confusion

Guy Keleny
 

CPAC 2015: What I learnt from the US — and what the US could learn from Ukip

Nigel Farage
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
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?