Sunday, 13 May 2012

For the Love of Brooks

Is it fashionable to love Rebekah Brooks? I asked myself this morning, circa 3am. It's the kind of question that comes to me between breastfeeding the baby and eating half a packet of crackers over a copy of last October's Tesco magazine.
A lot has been said about her since her appearance "on the Leveson" as it is now known in our house. The ultimate networker? Charm that would stab you in the back soon as cook you a lemon drizzle cake? A mysterious horse-loving red-haired queen of red top who sold her granny to conquer, errrm, Fleet Street?
Well, all I know is, after the now legendary "Cameron LOL revelations," I'm enjoying the smirking fun she's having embarrassing the top brass.
She's been pretty deep in the do-doherself over the hacking stuff, but ultimately, as a civilian, she has not much to lose. Certainly not her reputation. She was editor of the News of the World and The Sun, for Page Three's sake.
She and the Murdochs were the ones originally being picked to pieces at Leveson, but they have artfully turned the focus onto the Government and its wrongdoings. "So we hacked a few phones? Well, that's nothing to what we can tell you about some of the cabinet ministers penchant for inappropriate text speak".
Jeremy Hunt, once a dashing culture minister with all his own hair, has been reduced to a lambada-dancing figure of fun by the Fred Michel/Adam Smith email revelations. For a while, we were forced to watch footage of him setting off for a run in his shorts on the news most evenings. I'm reassured that this Peter Pan like politician keeps in shape, but I'm not sure we need to admire the white stucco of his residence or the white stucco of his shapely legs every day. He is nothing more than an artifact of amusement now. Cameron holds him close to his public school breast - they were at Oxford together, after all.
It goes to show, you can't really win over the press even when its key shakers are being dragged over the coals by Robert Jay QC on national television.
So, what is the answer to my original question? Is it ok to love Ms Rebekah?
I don't care. I can't get enough of her.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Boris's Blond Ambition

So the election results were counted, and it turns out London no longer has enough earnest left-wingers to squeeze a Livingstone win.
So the talk has all been about beautiful Boris and his incredible charisma, his Cameron-challenging leadership skills, and his glorious "figurehead" status in this our magnificent "Olympic Year".
Newscasters up and down the freeview dial were chuckling about the harmless Old Etonian classicist who became the accidental ruler of the London Underground. And nemesis of the bendy bus.
And as his next four-year term overseeing cable-car projects and cycle lanes ground into action, there were already calls for him to replace the prime minister.
Could Boris be the tousled-haired saviour of British humanity in straightened times? Could the man who once said he would provide the "bubbles in the champagne" of the mayoralty simultaneously take on the deficit and steer the nation to track and field glory?
Well, the city is clearly divided on Boris's skills: there's the "oohh he's really intelligent you know, he just puts on the bumbling demeanour as a ruse" camp.
Then there's the "he's a complete buffoon, I've no idea why anybody voted for him" camp. Whatever the case, I know the man would almost certainly be dangerous as prime minister. He might be a friendly figure, but his skills in creating jobs, housing and burrowing out of recession are unproven.
Yes, Boris is certainly a figurehead. He's fantastically posh, seems to be boosting tourism (with the cablecar) and he's easily recognisable. He knows all the right questions to ask visitors (have you come far?) and knows how to shake hands.
Which brings me to my point: Surely as our ancient Queen prepares for her Jubilee next month, it's time for Boris to step up? Surely she should be invited to retire in the luxury or Balmoral, and Boris can step in as head of state? A short coronation at Westminster with appropriate multi-platform coverage should suffice.
This way, Queenie will get a nice rest, Boris will have no power whatsoever, and "the people" will get what they seem to crave: a charismatic leader in an ermine cloak to open sports centres and make a speech at Christmas.