There will be something coming out within minutes. Things aren’t looking too good for the National Bullying Helpline.
(Still nothing on PA – Widdecombe’s staff were busy writing when I last called them). Read more
The first secretary was in spirited form on the BBC this morning. Andrew Marr hardly laid a glove on him. But Mandelson’s response to the tenor — if not the detail — of Andrew Rawnsely’s allegations over Gordon Brown’s rages can hardly be called a denial.
Mandelson basically accused David Cameron of not caring enough about politics to lose his temper as he admitted that Brown is “quite emotional” and “will get angry but chiefly with himself”. He said there was a degree of impatience. “But what would you like? Some kind of shrinking violet at the helm as we go through such choppy waters.” Read more
An extraordinary compilation of all the CCTV footage of the alleged killers of Mahmoud alMabhouh, the Hamas military commander. It is long but well worth watching. Note the narrators make no mention of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service. The shots of the tennis players using secret communications devices show what a sophisticated operation it was. But the most memorable moment is surely the bald chap who pops into the loo only to emerge with a full head of hair. Read more
On Thursday in the Notebook column I reported the early stages of a merciless bureaucratic assault on the army stables.
It makes passing reference to Dudley, a six-year-old Irish-bred grey gelding, who is fitted with a leopard-skin saddle as mascot for the Queen’s Royal Hussars.
The article suggests that Dudley, like the other MoD horses, has a “through life cost” to the taxpayer of £150,000. This deserves to be corrected. A reader has let me know that Dudley may actually be a private military company, only indirectly benefiting from taxpayer support.
I would like to point out a quite significant misconception in your notebook piece: Dudley is not paid for by the defence budget but by the officers of the regiment, who all chip in to fund his procurement, through-life costs, and personal equipment. Technically he may therefore be a Private Military and Security Company.
Dudley, please accept my apologies. The full notebook extract is copied below. Read more
Lots of controversy over whether the Israeli ambassador was summoned to see Sir Peter Ricketts, the head of the Foreign Office, or invited. Here is a brief guide to the diplomatic lexicon.
An invitation: Typically to dinners or functions. A staple of diplomatic life. Can be declined in most instances without causing offence. Read more
It was to be expected. But Paul Krugman, Nobel prize winning economist and chief Gordon Brown cheerleader, has revealed that we have another letter heading our way on how fast to cut the deficit.
There’s an economists’ duel underway in Britain. Everyone agrees that Britain needs to address its underlying budget deficit; but how fast? One group of prominent economists has published a letter saying that cuts should start more or less immediately. Read more
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