Posts Tagged ‘Louise Mensch’

Hugh Grant owns up: I fancy Paul Farrelly more than Louise Mensch

18/09/2012, 09:32:10 AM

Yes it’s true. Last night Hugh Grant went public with his affection for Labour’s twinkle-eyed MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme in a speech, admitting, “I fancy Paul a lot more than Louise Mensch”.

The occasion was the launch of Everybody’s Hacked Off by Brian Cathcart at the House of Commons.  The book sets the scene for the publication of the Leveson report, giving a coruscating view of past failed attempts at press regulation, the issues that directly led to the inquiry and the horrors uncovered over the course of its progress.

Hugh Grant wrote the introduction and will have had a chance to get up close and personal with both Farrelly and Mensch, members of the culture, media and sport select committee, through his work with the crusading Hacked Off campaign.

Some of those present interpreted Grant’s comments as reflecting more on his feelings towards Ms Mensch rather than a burgeoning attraction towards Farrelly.

Earlier this year, Mensch was accused of tabling amendments to the culture, media and sport select committee report that would have “exonerated” James Murdoch. She subsequently criticised the committee’s report, which was harshly critical of News International and Rupert Murdoch, as “partisan.”

But Paul Farrelly had certainly put his best foot forward in his speech preceding Grant’s turn. He described himself in alluring terms as, “the slightly thinner one on the TV sitting next to Tom Watson on the culture, media and sport select committee.”

If this wasn’t enough to set hearts fluttering, he went on,

“I’m also not the one tweeting with Louise Mensch…I’ve never sent a tweet in my life.”

Farrelly’s combination of physical conditioning with retro anti-tech chic certainly distinguished  him from the throng of MPs present.

Who could blame Hugh?

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Rumours of Lammy vs Mensch for the London 2016 mayoral election

01/05/2012, 06:53:17 PM

After a long and bruising London mayoral campaign, what is the last thing that anyone on either side should want to think about?

Hint – the operative word here is ‘should’. But after all the vitriol, the debates and the wilful sacrifice of thousands of activists on both sides to the grip of the perma-cold – the sniffling hallmark of day after day knocking doors in the rain – thoughts are turning to the next cycle.

Difficult as it maybe to believe but already senior figures on both sides are beginning to wonder who will be the mayoral contenders in 2016.

Come what may, next time round, Ken and Boris will not be involved and potential wannabes will be manoeuvring for prominent London roles in the 2015 general election.

Within Labour there is a working assumption that David Lammy will move early to establish front-runner status. Having seriously considered throwing his hat into the ring this time, he eventually opted to chair Ken’s campaign and inherit the campaign organisation.

His political calculation is that in 2016, most of the 2010 intake of London Labour MPs will be either in government or battling over the future direction of the Labour party. Allying with Ken minimised his risk of losing the selection this time and maximised his pool of support within the party machine for 2016.

One former party aide, who worked on the London mayoral candidate selection process and advised Lammy to run was phlegmatic, “He would have killed Boris if he had been the candidate but the politics made sense to wait”.


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Louise Mensch – future Tory PM or car crash waiting to happen?

01/08/2011, 01:00:46 PM

Louise Mensch – darling of the twitterati and media doyenne. After well deserved praise, even by Labour bloggers, for how she handled potential media revelations about her past, she has become something of a Westminster village heroine.

Already there is chatter about her as future leadership material.

But she combines three qualities which are terminal for new MPs – independent profile, past baggage and a boldness verging on the reckless. Louise Mensch is more likely to crash and burn than become Tory PM.

As a multi-million selling author, Louise Mensch was already well known before becoming an MP. She had money, fans and journalists eager to seek her out.

The House of Commons is like school. A new kid with a reputation breeds resentment amongst the less blessed – both amongst the new intake but particularly from the older hands.

Disparaging asides about la Mensch are already doing the rounds in the tea room and the bars amongst her colleagues.

Last week, one of her female colleagues was seen to roll her eyes at her mention and hiss ‘Louise bloody Mensch’.  The whips are mistrusting and she is building up the one thing that newbies must avoid – enemies on her own side.

As someone with a past, the David Jones e-mail is just the start. Mensch was a press officer at EMI at the height of the “fruit and flowers” years.  So called because of the euphemistic line item in the budget, which was cover for £200,000 a year allegedly spent on other ingredients of the rock and roll “lifestyle”. In those days, EMI was a party company.

There will be lots more to come.

Her current line, a variant on George W Bush’s “when I was young and reckless I was young and reckless” is fine to a point, but its purpose is to box off debate on past misdemeanours. It begins to break down if there is a stream of new revelations.

Inevitably, given her admission, there will be further questions about when she changed her lifestyle. If Mensch has been a paragon of virtue since her twenties, she will be fine, but as a celebrity author in her thirties, the temptations would have been more, not less.

And then there’s her judgement.

On the plus side, her boldness in pressing News International on the culture select committee is commendable. But the self-confidence that led her, as a new MP, to challenge the Murdochs also meant she made those ridiculous charges about Piers Morgan without bothering to check the facts.

Success in politics builds slowly. The stars that shine the brightest, earliest, often burn out.

At the height of the expenses crisis, David Cameron made lots of noises about wanting candidates from different backgrounds that had been successful before politics. That were more independent and brought new experiences into the House of Commons.

Careful what you wish for, David.

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