WHEN you watched the moving footage of The Queen’s funeral after her impeccable life of selfless duty, what was your primary thought?
I’m going to take a wild punt here and guess that it wasn’t, “where’s Gavin Williamson?”
Yet the current Minister Without Portfolio (or manners, it seems) threw a considerable number of toys out of his pram after being excluded from an “extremely limited” guest list while he was still a backbencher.
We know this because his uppity, expletive-laden texts about his exclusion have now made it into the public domain — and prove rather illuminating.
Taking the aggrieved tone of a helicopter parent who has just discovered that their precious little Tristram hasn’t been invited to Tobias’s small fifth birthday party, Williamson aimed his plastic guns at chief whip Wendy Morton, who was overseeing attendees.
The string of texts, spanning a month, have a “do you know who I am?” tone in which he reminds her that “I know how it works so don’t puss me about” (which one assumes is a typo of either p*ss or push), accuses her of “rigging” the guest list and warns her “there is a price for everything”, like some low-rent mafioso.
Oh dear. The words pompous, entitled, grandiose and petulant come to mind.
It also smacks of rampant self-interest when, ideally, we need our politicians to be focusing on what’s best for the people they represent, rather than themselves.
To her credit, Ms Morton treats his tantrum with the contempt it deserves and keeps reiterating “this is not the case” with admirable restraint while also explaining that the majority of places went to sitting Cabinet members, which he wasn’t at the time.
We now know she subsequently made an official complaint to the Conservative Party about his behaviour, and then party chairman Sir Jake Berry says he told Rishi Sunak of the development the day before he became Prime Minister.
Yet Sir Jake and Ms Morton both lost their jobs in the ensuing reshuffle and “Sir Gavin” (how the hell did that happen?), who was sacked by both Theresa May and Boris Johnson, returned to the top table.
Curiouser and curiouser.
Now, a female MP has come forward to accuse Sir Gavin of raising sensitive details about her private life in an attempt to silence her, and a Ministry of Defence official has claimed he “deliberately demeaned and intimidated” them on a regular basis when he was Defence Secretary between 2017 and 2019, telling them, on separate occasions, to “slit your throat” and “jump out of a window”.
The official says they reported the alleged behaviour to the MoD’s head of human resources at the time, but did not make a formal complaint.
Sir Gavin says: “I strongly reject this allegation and have enjoyed good working relationships with the many brilliant officials I have worked with across government.”
But an “informal” investigation is now under way and the word “bully” is being bandied about.
Politics is a tough business, they’re all grown-ups and — rightly or wrongly — throwing insults around is pretty commonplace, so let’s see what transpires.
But for now, the man who sent those texts warrants the description of pompous prat and, for that reason alone, Williamson should become “Minister without a Cabinet Position”.
These are serious times, and we need serious people to sort out the country’s problems, not someone who expends so much effort sending aggrieved messages about something as trivial as the pursuit of his own aggrandisement.
Not a lot g-Owen on between the ears
HOLLYOAKS actor Owen Warner was quick to leap in the I’m A Celeb shower and show off his ripped physique.
Well you would, wouldn’t you, when you’ve spent that long perfecting your pecs in the gym.
Sadly, young Owen doesn’t appear to have spent as long building up his brain.
Despite headlines weeks ago that Boy George was likely joining the jungle, 23-year-old Owen didn’t appear to know who he was when first introduced.
And when George explained that fellow campmate Scarlette Douglas was from A Place In The Sun, Owen asked: “Whereabouts?”
He later poked himself in the eye to get a feel for what it’s like to touch a fish eye and asked Mike Tindall if his wife Zara was Australian.
Bless him. He makes Buddy in Elf look like Sir Stephen Hawking.
Or perhaps, like Joey Essex before him, he’s hamming it up because he knows it makes good TV and we are the mugs for believing it.
Time will tell.
Is Tony gooner win it?
FORMER Arsenal captain Tony Adams got the lowest score on Strictly at the weekend but yet again survived the dance-off thanks to the public vote.
A recent report suggested that a 100,000-strong Gooner fans’ forum has been hitting redial to keep him in.
Tony – along with dance partner Katya Jones – has been entertaining so far, but as we enter week eight the waltzing wheat usually starts to separate from the cha-cha-chaff.
Will he decide to fall on his sword like John Sergeant in 2008 who, despite public popularity, said it was a “frightening thought” that he might win.
Or will “the donkey” – as Adams was known – hoof his way to victory and put that glitter ball in the back of the net?
Asylum not an escape
STOKE Rochford Hall looks like one of the grand stately homes featured in regency TV dramas.
But the Grade l listed mansion near Grantham, Lincs, is currently closed to paying guests as it’s being used to house asylum seekers at taxpayers’ expense.
Along with the Crowne Plaza hotel near Heathrow Airport, it’s just one of many high-end hotels being used for this purpose as migrants continue to arrive on our shores in small boats.
Married couple Lumnije and Sokol Kopani are staying at Stoke Rochford Hall and say they came here to flee the “Albanian mafia”.
I hate to break it to them but, judging by reports of how many Albanian gangs are in operation here, it sounds like they may have jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire.
World Cup of fakers
BRAVE human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell says of the World Cup: “Qatar is buying celebrity endorsements to boost its international reputation and detract from criticisms of its discriminatory policies towards women, LGBT+ people and migrant workers.”
Commentator Gary Neville is one of them and it was great to see his hypocrisy called out by Ian Hislop on Have I Got News For You.
Now Star Wars actor and ardent Black Lives Matter supporter John Boyega has been accused of “putting money before principles” after signing a reported seven-figure deal to promote Lay’s crisps during the tournament.
Tatchell adds: “I’m stunned that John Boyega is colluding with this racist regime, which abuses workers from India, Bangladesh and Nepal in ways it would never dare do to its own citizens.”
Groucho Marx once said: “These are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others.”
He might have added: “Particularly if there’s a large cheque involved.”
Love? My dog nose it
A DIVORCING couple in Argentina couldn’t decide on who should keep the dogs so went to court to establish a legal precedent that they were a “multi-species family” in which the pets have rights too.
In other words, they let the dogs decide who they liked the best – and Popeye “showed a preference” for the husband while Kiara “chose the wife”.
Now happily divorced, they meet up once a week so “our babies” can see each other on a walk.
All very lovely, but it got me wondering who our dog Jasper would choose in a similar situation.
Answer? Whoever has the foresight to secretly rub their hands in bacon fat.
MEGHAN MARKLE has moved a step closer to resurrecting her old lifestyle blog The Tig.
Her bid to trademark the name is being considered by the US Patent and Trademark Office, with five clear categories of business being specified as travel, food preparation, personal relationships, health/wellness and interior design which includes “environmentally conscious living”.
Given her and Harry’s penchant for private jets, perhaps she should have included the category “comedy” too.
Wristwatch willy waving
ROLEX has developed a £21k wristwatch that works seven miles under the ocean.
No human can survive that depth so, a bit like a car that can reach 300mph when the top national speed limit is 70, it rather begs the question “what’s the point?”
Wired magazine has described it as “horological showing off”.
That’s “wristwatch willy waving” to you and me.