Following my abrupt departure from Good Morning Britain after declining to apologise for disbelieving Meghan ‘Princess Pinocchio’ Markle, I’ve been riding a rare wave of public popularity, with my anti-woke, pro-free speech book Wake Up becoming a no. 1 bestseller and people stopping me in the street to offer support. A lady named Marion from Eastbourne wrote to compare my campaign to that of John Lilburne, the 17th-century English political leveller who coined the term ‘freeborn rights’ and became a champion of liberty. She wrote: ‘Lilburne spent his life fighting for freedom of speech, and for this he was whipped, pilloried, half-starved, exiled, imprisoned and twice put on trial for his life by Oliver Cromwell. He never gave up. You are a strong voice against the woke brigade who are hellbent on destroying our history, language and culture. Keep up the good work.’ I don’t equate being paid not to get out of bed at 4.45 a.m. to what poor Lilburne endured, but we share a common philosophy. As Oscar Wilde is reputed to have said: ‘I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to make an ass of yourself.’
If Sir Keir Starmer wins the next election, he will become our first declared atheist prime minister. Yet in an unaired bit of our three-hour Life Stories interview, the Labour leader thanked God for saving his life. Starmer revealed he and his wife Victoria were once aboard a ‘tiny’ plane while holidaying in the Caribbean when it stuttered after takeoff, then careered 20 yards above the sea, with the cockpit door flapping and a youthful pilot desperately wrestling to stop it crashing into the water. ‘Did you think that was it?’ I asked. ‘Yeah,’ he replied. ‘It was really scary. The plane looked like it would barely hold itself together. Then I saw a sign on the cockpit door that said “In God we trust” and I thought, PHEW!’ The plane eventually touched down, safely. ‘Didn’t this experience lead you to the believers’ side?’ I asked. ‘Thank you, God,’ he replied, ‘but sorry, no. I’m afraid what it led to was going straight to the nearest bar.’
Is it just me who was bemused to hear that Theresa May has raked in more than £1 million on the corporate lecture circuit since leaving No. 10? I once had a 20-minute chat with her at a Spectator party which was so enthralling that by the time I got home, I couldn’t remember anything she’d told me. When I informed Donald Trump just before the last US election that Mrs May gets paid more than £100,000 a pop for speeches, he exploded into mocking laughter and spluttered: ‘Are you kidding me? I’d pay £100,000 not to hear her talk!’
Interesting to see Dominic Cummings confirm everything I accused the government of doing wrong when the coronavirus crisis first erupted, and demand ‘maximum transparency’ between politicians and the media. This is the same Dominic Cummings who ordered a seven-month boycott of GMB last year to stop us holding ministers’ feet to the fire for the very failures he now says cost thousands of lives. Those who shunned us included Matt Hancock, who told parliament this week: ‘Our whole approach throughout this pandemic has been to answer questions from the public, the media, and MPs.’ If the Health Secretary can fib so brazenly about this, it’s easy to imagine him being the serial liar that Cummings claims.
The perfect footballer, according to Brazil’s Neymar, has ‘Cristiano’s physique, Zlatan’s elasticity, Ramos’s header, Mbappe’s speed, Messi’s left foot, my right foot, Lewandowski’s finishing, Kante’s tackling and the creativity of Verratti’. This got me thinking as to what would make the perfect British politician. I concluded it would be someone with Raab’s physique, Rayner’s cojones, Ken Clarke’s humour, Lammy’s zeal, Gordon Brown’s brain, Boris’s chutzpah, Rishi’s confidence, Sturgeon’s combativeness, Hancock’s rhino skin, Burnham’s passion, Blair’s eloquence and Gavin Williamson’s ability never to answer a question.
I’ve never found Friends funny; it’s just a bunch of irritating people cracking endless inane jokes to OTT canned laughter. So I didn’t share the global outpouring of joy at the ageing cast reuniting to celebrate their dismal assault on my comedic senses. However, I feel compelled to defend it against woke warriors who want the show cancelled because the main characters are white, and say ‘problematic’ things about sexuality, gender and weight. The fact these illiberal wastrels can get so pathetically enraged by something as innocuously inappropriate as Friends makes me want to order all 236 episodes right now. I might even laugh in protest.