Magazine article The Spectator


Magazine article The Spectator


Article excerpt

More turmoil at No. 10, I hear. 'Cameron's power network is disintegrating, ' gloated an insider as news broke that two aides close to the cabinet secretary, Jeremy Heywood, are to leave. The pair worked together at the highest level. Paul Kirby (head of policy) would devise new administrative schemes and Kris Murrin (head of implementation) would make sure they didn't work. In Macmillan's day it would have been called laissez-faire government.

No doubt the modern term is something like 'handson multidimensionality'. In other words, paralysis.

While losses mount at the Guardian, the editor, Alan Rusbridger, has fallen in love. He keeps ordering the sub-editors to find space for articles about his new Fazioli piano.

Cheeky responses have appeared on the website.

'We always wondered how you filled your days and how you spent your fortune, ' wrote one indignant hack.

'Now we know.' Faziolis cost at least £50,000 and a friend at the Wigmore Hall tells me professionals won't go near them. 'They're for loaded amateurs who think a pricy instrument will make up for clumsy fingerwork.' Rusbridger recalls an early tryst with his new playmate: 'When I came home one night, it was there - draped in a maroon cover with Fazioli embroidered in distinctive sans serif gold letters on the side. The cover came off and the lid went up, exposing a burst of colour - the deep red spruce soundboard from the Val di Fiemme and the golden walnut inlay around the inside of the case.' If he gets the boot, there's a job waiting for him at the Shopping Channel.

M'learned chums at Inner Temple tell me that a political superstar is to address the Gandhi Society later this year. Vince Cable will materialise among the barristers and pontificate on the career of the great Indian reformer. He won't be stuck for parallels. Gandhi has the profile of a classic Lib Dem activist. He was a devout vegetarian who ate only mung beans, peanut butter and lemon juice. He was committed to fighting social inequality wherever he could find it. And he limited his wardrobe to loincloths made of pure Indian cotton and other self-woven casuals. In one sphere alone the Mahatma would part company with the modern Lib Dem movement - sex.

In 1906, he announced a lifelong suspension of marital relations with his wife. Such a vow, as Nick '30-women-and-counting' Clegg will confirm, would scarcely harmonise with present Lib Dem practice. …

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