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

Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

How did swearing ever get so frowned upon?

Stefano Hatfield
.  

When league tables claim that 0% of students at top schools are getting a good education, it's glaringly obvious that they need to be scrapped

Chris Sloggett
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links