John Rentoul

15654405 300x168 Miscellany“Miscellany” was the title of the diary/gossip column in the New Statesman when I worked there 1982-88. Most of the time, it was edited by the peerless Francis Wheen. I’d like to say I learned everything I know about journalism and writing from him, but he was so far out of my league that I didn’t.

Anyway, this is nothing like it. This is a round-up of interesting stuff that went past yesterday.

Jo Johnson, Boris’s bro and new MP for Orpington, has a promising early entry in his blog at FT Westminster on the 2010 intake of MPs dominating the elections to select committees. Tom Harris, a member of the 2001 intake, doesn’t like it. “Too much democracy,” he says.

Conor Ryan, the Best Blogger on Education, has important news about the new prime minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, whom I mentioned yesterday. She’s a tough schools reformer, so that is even better news.

• A correspondent nominated Paul Goodman’s latest blog at Conservative Home for my Questions to Which the Answer is No series:

Could Osborne emerge as the darling of the Right – and a challenge to David Cameron?

After deliberation, however, the Committee rejected the application. Osborne is plainly a possible successor as leader of the Conservative Party, although Boris Johnson is probably currently ahead and events can rearrange the running order quickly – it was not so long ago that David Laws was a brief if distant possibility.

• And finally, we must mention Paul, the psychic octopus (above). According to Sky News (and thanks to Arieh Kovler), he is going to predict (at 10am this morning) the outcome of an association football game that I believe is taking place on Sunday. Update: He’s gone for Germany.

As Francis Wheen used to sign off: Pip, pip!

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