Ireland’s ambassador to the UK, Daniel Mulhall, emphasised the importance of trade with his country during a speech at a reception in Manchester, pointing out that we consume a great deal of what the Irish call whiskey, but the Scots call whisky. “They claim to have invented it, but they don’t even know how to spell it,” he remarked. “The reason they have so many brands is they still haven’t found the right formula.” Someone should try that gag at next week’s SNP conference in Aberdeen.

Labour emigrés for hire

At least a dozen former Labour MPs are scattered among the thousands at Conservative conference. This is not because they have been invited into George Osborne’s big tent, like Andrew Adonis. But after being sacked by the electorate, they have to find work where they can. Then they must face the indignity of lobbying or running a stall and being as ingratiating as they can to members of the party that was responsible for getting them sacked.

Download the new Independent Premium app

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

Anything for Denis?

The second volume of Charles Moore’s biography of Margaret Thatcher is replete with vignettes about her and the people around her, including two concerning Denis Thatcher’s crying need for gin. When the Thatchers were in Beijing in 1982 arguing over the future of Hong Kong, they were treated coldly by their Chinese hosts, who put them in poor accommodation and snubbed her when she hosted a banquet. But when Denis complained in the privacy of his room that he had no gin and tonic, the Chinese spooks who had bugged the room had one delivered.

Denis did not accompany his wife to the Commonwealth summit in Nassau in 1985, but civil service records show that on departing she spent $6.50 on cigarettes and $4.97 on gin in the duty free shop. Since she neither smoked nor drank, she was obviously shopping for Denis.

Comments

Share your thoughts and debate the big issues

Learn more
Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines.
  • You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully
  • Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable
  • Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties
  • We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification

You can find our Community Guidelines in full here.

Create a commenting name to join the debate

Please try again, the name must be unique Only letters and numbers accepted
Loading comments...
Loading comments...
Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines.
  • You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully
  • Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable
  • Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties
  • We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification

You can find our Community Guidelines in full here.

Loading comments...
Loading comments...