The prime minister’s 'Islamic' lifestyle
One of “the world’s most feared terrorist chiefs” has been praising David Cameron and Boris Johnson for their modest, bicycle-riding, “Islamic” way of life. Hafiz Saeed, who has a $10m American bounty on his head, thinks Pakistani leaders should look to our prime minister as a role model and tone down their gilded life.
It may not be quite the sort of endorsement David Cameron wants, as The Daily Telegraph says. But it’s a reminder that while he and Boris Johnson “may be derided as toffs by some opponents at home, their lives are modest by the cash-guzzling standards of Pakistan’s politicians”.
Saeed notes in a petition lodged with the Lahore Supreme Court that while Pakistan’s rulers are “living like kings and princes in palatial government houses”, Britain’s PM lives in a four-bedroom flat. “When the sun never set on the British Empire the chief executive of that great country lived in the same house of a few marlas [a fraction of an acre] in a small street. That is truly Islamic, that is like following the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him),” he says in the petition. It’s an odd message, but Saeed’s attack on Pakistan’s pampered politicians will strike a chord in a country where millions live on less than $1 a day.
Banoffee pie is "just the job" for Cameron
Like everyone else, notes Telegraph columnist Damian Thompson, Mr Cameron enjoys a treat in moments of crisis. Churchill liked his brandy, Harold Wilson “hit the brown sauce”, John Major “got stuck into a curry”. And Cameron? As he agonised over Lords reform last week, the phone suddenly rang in the Downing Street kitchen. According to Thompson’s source: “A familiar voice barked out just two words: ‘banoffee pie’.
Which sent us into a tizzy, because we didn’t have the ingredients. Thank God we found one in the freezer, so that went straight into the microwave. But the phone went off again before it was defrosted, so I doused the pie in hot maple syrup and sent it upstairs.”
Fifteen minutes later, says Thompson, an empty plate was pushed out of the Number Ten flat on to the landing. “That evening the PM passed my informant in the corridor and whispered: ‘Just the job.’ ‘He’s such a gentleman,’ she says, smiling pinkly.”
Italy's yacht exodus
Italy’s rich yachtsmen are usually to be found packing the country’s marinas in the summer. But this year they “are not just feeling the heat from the sun”, says Nick Squires in The Daily Telegraph. Thousands are “weighing anchor” and heading to quiet corners of the Mediterranean “to escape an operation against tax evasion”, as the prime minister, Mario Monti, tackles the country’s €1.9trn debt.
It’s not his best idea. The Guardia di Finanza, the tax police, are performing on-the-spot checks, trying to catch boat owners who’ve declared minimal rental income. The result: about 30,000 yachts have left Italy, says Squires, costing an estimated €200m in lost revenue from mooring fees, port services and fuel sales.
Tabloid money… Cameron’s pals must go if coalition is to survive
• If the coalition is to survive, some of Cameron’s “pals” must go, says Trevor Kavanagh in The Sun. “Top of the list is George Osborne.” The “catalogue of unforced errors and crass incompetence” of his budget was unforgivable.
“In a few short weeks, Osborne has shredded his reputation and turned the coalition into a lame-duck administration. It takes a special talent to cast Ed Balls on the right side of an economic argument, but Osborne somehow managed to do so. If the Prime Minister cannot grasp this nettle, he is finished. A job swap with William Hague is the solution.”
As for Cameron: he also has a tendency to “lose his rag... His swipe at tax-dodging Jimmy Carr was out of order... The answer, to quote Cameron himself, is: Calm down, dears. Get someone else to put the boot in.”
• “Nobody has contributed more to this country than its old-age pensioners,” says Tony Parsons in the Daily Mirror. Yet, while many are left in poverty, this rich country “still spends money like a sailor on shore leave. The cost of freeing Libya – where they thanked us by desecrating the graves of British war dead – is estimated at between £600m and £1.25bn. Afghanistan – where our Afghan allies thank us by murdering our troops – will cost £20bn. It is time to stop squandering billions on wars to free people who hate us. And start giving something back to the generation who fought wars to set us free.”
• “A council spent more than six hundred quid translating their fatuous monthly newsletter into Urdu – because just ONE resident complained they couldn’t understand it in English,” says Rod Liddle in The Sun. The ratepayers in Crawley are justifiably furious. If the council felt that strongly they could have spent £6.99 on an English-Urdu dictionary and mailed it to the person who complained – along with a note saying ‘get learning’. Or spent nothing at all and just told them: ‘Tough’.”