Powell's 'Rivers of Blood' is named top political speech

Alice-Azania Jarvis
Sunday 23 October 2011 06:35

Exclusive interviews with Gordon Brown and innumerable mentions in the daily press: it has been a glittering start for Total Politics, the new parliamentary rag on the block.

Rather unfortunate, then, that its website should cause problems so early on.

Offence has been caused by the site's "Greatest Speeches of all Time" section, where – alongside Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have A Dream" and Abraham Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address" – sits Enoch Powell's infamous "Rivers of Blood" tirade.

It is an unfortunate choice from the publication that had promised not simply to be a "Tory rag" – accusations it faced thanks to its Conservative publisher Iain Dale and investor Lord Ashcroft.

Dale, however, is nothing but gracious when I call. "Maybe the description should be 'memorable speeches'," he concedes. "It's very much a work in progress."

Pandora, however, can't help but wonder how the choice will go down with the magazine's more left-wing board members, which include Liberty boss Shami Chakrabarti, as well as Lord Ashdown, and the former Labour minister Denis MacShane.

Someone certainly not inclined to sympathise is Dale's old bologosphere rival Alex Hilton.

"When we talk about political correctness, sometimes it's just about being polite," he argues. "But it's certainly not about offending the black population of Britain. Maybe he should change the title of the magazine to 'Total Ashcroft'?"

Emily enjoys her brush with the style police

Keira Knightley and Kate Winslet may resent being air-brushed, but one fellow actress relishes any help she can get.

Emily Mortimer, who is no eyesore by any stretch of the imagination, was surprised to find herself cutting an even more striking figure than usual in this month's Boston Common magazine. Not that she's complaining.

"Thank God for airbrushing," declares the 36-year-old. "I don't look nearly that flawless. In real life I have split ends, dirty fingernails and wrinkles."

The amiable actress and daughter of the Rumpole creator Sir John Mortimer is currently based in New York with her husband, Alessandro Nivola, and their four-year-old son, Sam.

She is the first to admit that her brushes with the style police have not always gone entirely to plan. Only recently she confessed to being horrified when, on reading one particularly vindictive American tabloid, she discovered herself listed under the week's "fashion disasters".

"They said I looked like a Smurf!" Mortimer exclaimed.

White House, not jeans

The fashion world loved to think of Barack Obama playing muse. It made them sound so erudite. So... political. When word went out that Donatella Versace, below right, had "dedicated" her latest collection to the presidential hopeful, the story was lapped up like a saucer of cream.

Disappointing, then, to hear that it wasn't in fact true.

"Barack Obama himself wasn't the inspiration," a Versace spokesperson has clarified. "It was the type of man Barack Obama represents. He's a modern man with a laid-back, relaxed look and attitude."

What a shame. The Versace catwalk had promised a particularly skimpy Presidential look: translucent lavender chemises, skin-tight white jeans and shirts unbuttoned to the waist. Pandora, for one, would have enjoyed it.

Diplomatic tipple

Football fever is gripping the German Embassy after its country beat Turkey two nights ago to reach Sunday's European Championship final. It's a good job the match wasn't played last night, as it would have clashed with the embassy's summer party. As it was, diplomats had to issue a reassurance that, yes, TVs would be switched to the semi-final between Russia and Spain, for the benefit of those guests who might otherwise have left early.

* Anyone thinking of contacting the Duke of Westminster would do well to take into account his recent change in title. As Pandora was reminded only yesterday, His Grace has been appointed a companion in the most Honourable Order of Bath. This, according to a missive from his faithful PA, means he is no longer to be addressed as "His Grace The Duke of Westminster KG OBE TD CD DL", but instead as "His Grace The Duke of Westminster KG CB OBE TD CD DL."

Spot the difference?

Murdoch wants a foxier Sky

From the sound of things, Rupert Murdoch fears his own Sky News may be little more than a pale imitation of the good old BBC.

He gives an interesting interview on the subject in this morning's House of Lords report on the media. "Sky News would be more popular if it were more like the Fox News Channel," says Murdoch. Then, at least, it could shout a bit louder and provide "a proper alternative to the BBC". Unfortunately, he adds, "no one listens" to him.

The media baron also takes a swipe at Aidan Barclay, the co-owner of The Daily Telegraph, saying he thought it "inappropriate" that Mr Barclay give evidence to the committee, because the Telegraph's editor had already given evidence.


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