Andy McSmith's Diary: A potty mouth in politics? Personally, I blame the kids


Andy McSmith
Tuesday 23 April 2013 22:28
Health minister Anna Soubry
Health minister Anna Soubry

When David Cameron said in a radio interview that he did not use Twitter because “too many twits might make a twat”, at least he had the excuse that he did not know what the word meant. It was explained to him afterwards by his press secretary Gabby Bertin, and he duly apologised.

I doubt that the health minister Anna Soubry can plead ignorance over her potty mouth comment in the current issue of Total Politics on Tory plotters who want to remove David Cameron from the leadership. “When people talk about such-and-such a person as an alternative to Cameron, there is no vacancy… What we now need to do is stop people in the party engaging in quite a lot of twattery,” she said. Shocking. Did she learn that sort of language from her children?

RIP Jim – king of putting his Foot in his mouth

On the subject of people who are loyal to leaders, it is sad to hear that Jim Mortimer has died. An honest old cove, he was quite the worst General Secretary the Labour Party ever had.

He played a central part in the disastrous 1983 general election campaign, during which he was annoyed that the press should be speculating that there were moves inside the party to remove Michael Foot from the leadership.

Wanting to put them finally to rest, Mortimer faced a crowded press conference and told the astounded hacks that the matter had been discussed by the Campaign Committee, and that they had “unanimously agreed that Michael Foot is the Leader of the Labour Party.”

Leaders who lunch stand out from the crowd...

Nigel Farage, UKIP’s leader, likes to emphasise the difference between himself and the three main party leaders, all of whom studied economics at Oxford, went straight to work as wannabe politicians, and have sensible lifestyles.

Farage treats it as a selling point that he has worked in the City and lived the lifestyle of a city speculator. “I worked damn hard in the City of London for 20 years…” he told a Press Gallery lunch yesterday “…up until lunchtime.”

EDF won’t waste their energy on creating jobs

Prospect and Unite, the unions representing nuclear power workers, were not happy with the announcement by the debt-ridden French energy firm, EDF, that they are cutting the numbers doing preparatory work on the proposed power plant at Hinkley Point, C plant, in Somerset, to reduce costs.

They would have been even less happy if they had heard Nigel Knee, EDF’s head of nuclear policy, tell the Westminster Energy and Environment Forum: “Arguably we should be looking for the investment that produces least jobs.” Candid, but politically not clever.

Sacré bleu! Is Le Becks losing his golden touch?

It is hard to remember a world in which David Beckham was not famous, but one day, such a world will exist again. We are even having a foretaste of what it might be like, according to France’s best-selling Sunday newspaper, Le JDD, which has a rubric, “Le Beckhamètre”, which gives him a weekly “score” based on the number of mentions of his name in the media worldwide.

The latest entry, which appeared alongside a report of Beckham’s manager storming out of a press conference after being asked what it was like having his three boys, Romeo, Brooklyn and Cruz, watching the day’s training session, lamented that Becks, had had only 1,178 mentions that week, his lowest score since his arrival in Paris.

It was the second bad week in a row. The previous week, on 14 April, “Le Beckhamètre” opened with the grim announcement: “Crime de lèse-majesté: Margaret Thatcher éclipse David Beckham,” after the number of mentions of “Le Spice Boy” tumbled to 2,470, compared with 6,486 for “la Dame de fer”.

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