News, Culture & Society

PLATELL’S PEOPLE: Call off these attack dogs hunting mole who exposed Matt Hancock 

Just imagine the scene: sitting at home with your family in front of the telly, or sleeping soundly in your bed, when suddenly there’s a knock at the front door.

In burst state officials, ransacking your house and seizing computers, phones and anything else they can lay their hands on. This is not Russia, China or East Germany under the Stasi: this is Britain in 2021.

The Information Commissioner’s Office is our supposedly independent ‘data watchdog’. It claims to ‘uphold information rights in the public interest’ and ‘promote openness by public bodies’. What rubbish.

ICO’s goons raided two properties, hunting for ‘evidence’ against the brave whistleblowers they suspect of leaking the jaw-dropping pictures of disgraced ex-Health Secretary Matt Hancock kissing and pawing his married mistress

This week, exploiting little-used powers, the ICO’s goons raided two properties, hunting for ‘evidence’ against the brave whistleblowers they suspect of leaking the jaw-dropping pictures of disgraced ex-Health Secretary Matt Hancock kissing and pawing his married mistress.

That footage made us all feel nauseous. Hancock, who had spent more than a year bossily laying down new laws, was exposed shattering every rule in his own book — betraying not just his own family, but the country.

What could have been more squarely in the public interest than exposing a minister of state behaving with such brazen hypocrisy? Whoever brought this image to the attention of the free Press and then the world did us all a huge service. If they hadn’t, Hancock the hypocrite would still be leaning against the door of his office, grabbing his mistress and wiping the lipstick from his face before barking ‘hands, face, space’ to the rest of us.

Without whistleblowers, we might never have known some of the greatest scandals of our time.

Harry Templeton exposed how £400 million had been pilfered from the Mirror’s pension fund by its crooked owner Robert Maxwell. The 2009 Commons expenses scandal was uncovered by John Wick. And brave Jayne Senior, a youth worker, exposed Rotherham’s epidemic of paedophile Asian grooming gangs.

Without whistleblowers, we might never have known some of the greatest scandals of our time

Without whistleblowers, we might never have known some of the greatest scandals of our time

From the sinking of the Belgrano during the Falklands War to the culture of anti-Semitism that festered within Corbyn’s Labour Party: we would know almost nothing had not a few courageous people decided that the truth had to out.

Instead of treating the Hancock affair as a moment for reflection, Boris Johnson at first tried to pretend it hadn’t happened by saying ‘the matter is closed’ — and now the IOC has been roaming the country on a shameful witch-hunt.

The aim, surely, is to send a chilling message to would-be whistleblowers everywhere. It’s straight out of the Mafia’s playbook: mess with us, and we’ll mess with you. Shameful.

Call off the ICO attack dogs, Boris — or you may find the whistleblowers start hunting for your secrets next.

An unnamed man who paid £20 million to be aboard the first space flight of billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has given up his place, citing a diary conflict. How delicious. It gives a whole new meaning to the oft-used excuse by us gals: ‘Not tonight Jeff, I’m washing my hair.’

Dad’s big day, too

Emma ‘Baby Spice’ Bunton, 45, marries her long-term partner Jade Jones in a tiny ceremony with a few friends

Emma ‘Baby Spice’ Bunton, 45, marries her long-term partner Jade Jones in a tiny ceremony with a few friends

Emma ‘Baby Spice’ Bunton, 45, marries her long-term partner Jade Jones in a tiny ceremony with a few friends, their 13-year-old son Beau as best man and their mums proudly watching.

But no fathers of the bride and groom: Emma was 11 when her parents split up. But dads can be invaluable on anyone’s special day.

At my wedding, Dad whispered in my ear: ‘Mandy, it’s still not too late to run.’ Sage advice. He was happily married for seven decades . . . my marriage didn’t last seven years.

Woke goes from Bard to worse

As Hamlet says, the play’s the thing. Shakespeare shouldn’t need a woke gimmick to get us watching

As Hamlet says, the play’s the thing. Shakespeare shouldn’t need a woke gimmick to get us watching

As the great Ian McKellen, 82, treads the boards as Hamlet once again, the show’s promoters trumpet that theirs is an ‘age, colour and gender-blind production’. Well, there’s obviously some method in this madness of PC publicity — as it’s suddenly the show everyone is talking about.

But as Hamlet says, the play’s the thing. Shakespeare shouldn’t need a woke gimmick to get us watching.

AJ’s hair today, gone tomorrow

Now the latest bombshell to enter the villa is Andrea-Jane ‘AJ’ Bunker, 28, a pouting blonde who arrived crying: ‘Eyes on the prize, boys!’

Now the latest bombshell to enter the villa is Andrea-Jane ‘AJ’ Bunker, 28, a pouting blonde who arrived crying: ‘Eyes on the prize, boys!’

The latest series of Love Island was billed as ‘the most middle class ever’, the contestants actually having real jobs including civil servant, estate agent, PE teacher and marketing manager.

Now the latest bombshell to enter the villa is Andrea-Jane ‘AJ’ Bunker, 28, a pouting blonde who arrived crying: ‘Eyes on the prize, boys!’ And the chosen career of this bastion of female empowerment?

Hair extension technician.

A hollow laugh as Harry and Meghan’s Oprah Winfrey interview is nominated at the Emmys for an ‘outstanding non-fiction’ award.

As the Mail’s royal experts and others have revealed, many people have serious concerns about the Sussexes’ claims: from their wild accusations of royal racism, their smears that Archie was maliciously denied a title and allegations that Charles cut Harry off financially.

But to me the most ‘outstanding fiction’ of all is that after all their ugly score-settling, this pair still claim the moral high ground.

In a tribute to the dish that supposedly killed Elvis Presley, Nigella Lawson cooks a fried peanut-butter and banana sandwich. Had the drug-addled, sadly obese Elvis still been alive today, he might have softly sung to the Domestic Goddess: Return To Sender.

During a rough time in his early career when Jamie Oliver was getting a lot of criticism for over-exposing himself, his mum wrote and asked me to give him a break. And I did. Yet now it’s time for her to step up. Jamie is seeking the legal rights for his son Buddy, just ten, to have his own intellectual trademark ‘Cook With Buddy’. This includes such precious recipes as mushroom omelettes and cooking a burger on a barbie. Oliver used to be so grounded. Don’t let the flame of your own ambition torch your kid’s life, Jamie.

The truth is out there, Gill

You know an actress’s career must be sagging when she starts boasting about ditching her bra, like former X-Files star Gillian Anderson.

Urging other women to follow her liberated example as she plugs the third series of her Netflix show Sex Education, Gillian tells the world: ‘I don’t care if my breasts reach my belly button.’

Good to know dear, but no news yet from her one-time fellow UFO-hunter David Duchovny on whether he still sports Y-fronts. A new ‘brief’ for Mulder and Scully?

Westminster Noticeboard…

Despite £1.4 billion set aside to fund summer catch-up sessions aimed at helping kids from more deprived backgrounds, fewer than one in five schools plans to reopen. It’s all very well for the PM to talk about ‘levelling up’: how about opening up schools to kids who need them most?

n New documents reveal that Boris and Carrie spent the £30,000 we taxpayers surrender annually for the upkeep of the No 11 flat largely on ‘painting and sanding of floorboards’. Given that this eye-watering sum was on top of another £58,000 she splashed on doing up the place after Theresa May’s ‘John Lewis furniture nightmare’, it’s all beginning to feel less like a refurbishment and more like an exorcism.

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