• A bothersome day for Michael Gove as his proposal to produce a new
£60m yacht for the House of Windsor is rubbished by No 10. Still, he'll
get over it. And few will notice that his bold idea was actually lifted
from a policy document produced two years ago by Ukip. Even Ukip resiled
from it. Still, the education secretary should be good at copying.
• Unusual to hear directly from Dirty Des, proprietor of the Star and
Express, but we did last week at the Leveson inquiry. A short
contribution. There one minute, gone the next. As was this helpful,
erratically crafted, reader posting that appeared immediately afterwards
on the great man's website. "I agree the news papers heve been
scapegoated. No one knows what happened to that poor wee girl Madelaine.
Untill what has happened to her has been established then no one can be
rulled in or out of the enquiry. Unless their is absolutley compelling
and unrefutable evidence that the parents were not involved then they
should remain as suspects." They should "consider themselves lucky that
they have not been charged with child neglect". Another case of system
failure at the "world's greatest newspaper", and although the rant was
deleted the following day, he'll want to get his story straight. He's
already had to pay the McCann's £500,000 in damages.
• They could turn again to Clarence Mitchell, the former BBC reporter
who represented them at the outset. He's now managing director of PR
giants Burson-Marsteller UK but before that he gave a talk on it all:
"Missing Madeleine McCann: The perfect PR campaign". But that was then;
right now he's busy. Costa Crociere, the cruise ship operator whose
fortunes, and vessel, hit the rocks in Italy needs PR help. Someone has
to do it. Might as well be him.
• Strange tidings with regard to the career path of Daily Star editor
Dawn Neesom, meanwhile. Last week we highlighted her witness statement
to the Leveson inquiry, which said she began as a casual reporter in
1982 on the Newham Recorder newspaper in east London. Seemed strange,
because no one who was there at the time, including your diarist, could
even vaguely remember her. We make further inquiries and things begin to
make sense. In oral evidence, she sought to correct her statement,
saying she had been no more than "a contributor to local newspapers",
and omitting any further reference to the Newham Recorder. A mistake
then. But it's a mistake that was happening well before her appearance
at Leveson last week, well before the establishment of Leveson. "Her
career in journalism began on the local weekly newspaper the Newham
Recorder in 1982," says her unamended Wikipedia entry. "Began her career
on the Newham Recorder," said the Evening Standard in an interview
published seven years ago. "Her career began in 1982 on the Newham
Recorder," said the Independent, in 2006.
• Could be error. Could be spin. Certainly the art of spin is something
that interests the Commons culture select committee. What a boon it has
been to the notion of parliamentary scrutiny. They operate independently
but they work as a team. What unites them? They're headbangers. Heavy
metal. Tom Watson explains. "There's actually a real metal bias on the
committee," he tells the Word, the arts and music magazine. "[John]
Whittingdale is a massive metalhead – he's into the lot. Adrian Sanders
– a little-known fact – has got a rock show on Torbay hospital radio!
And then you've got Louise [Mensch], who basically dresses in black all
the time. What brings us together is AC/DC." And a shared love of James
• Finally, it's happened. Three years into the job, Mayor Boris finally
assumed full responsibility for the capital's policing. And so it is
that the man who once had an amiable, conceptual, recorded discussion
with an erstwhile friend about breaking somebody else's legs becomes the
master of all he surveys at Scotland Yard. Really is a funny old world.