Hugh Muir – The Guardian -7 December 2010. How do reports that Boris Johnson retaliated against the alleged duplicity of Fifa boss Sepp Blatter by withdrawing an offer to put him up at the Dorchester during the 2012 Olympics square with his publicly expressed position? "What did you offer Fifa President Sepp Blatter to select England for the venue for the World Cup tournament in 2018," he was asked by London assembly member Murad Quershi at City Hall last month. "There has been no offer made to the Fifa president directly," replied the mayor then, sentiments echoed again on Monday yesterday. Hope that’s true. For questions are being asked. Blatter isn’t the only one being accused of trickery.
• As Americans bayed for his blood, WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange remained elusive. But where has he been? We don’t know. Neither did the Times. Still, like good professionals, they pursued the lines of inquiry. And so it was that the Guardian’s Nick Davies, reporter and author of Flat Earth News – the instant classic on newspaper practices – found himself the target for an old-fashioned doorstep operation. The bell rang chez Davies, and on responding to it, our man, who has had extensive dealings with Assange, found a nervous young reporter and a photographer. They were pitiful figures, having battled through the snow to Sussex and having crashed their car into a wall en route. But Assange was not there; hadn’t been for several months. The pair disappeared into the night with everyone’s best wishes, but without their scoop.
• And as culture secretary Jeremy Hunt hears a few home truths from James Naughtie, his colleague, "Voldemort" Lansley, is all energy – dismantling systems, spreading misery as he will. Today’s task: getting rid of Steve Bundred, appointed only in May for a four-year term as chair of Monitor, the foundation hospitals regulator. Officially Bundred can apply for his own job but since the pay is being drastically cut, to do so would signal desperation. Some suggest Voldemort is merely clearing out the "Labour dead wood". Others that despite Cameron’s emollience, the government is proving highly partisan in whom it appoints to the remaining quangos. As for Bundred, his fate would seem sealed. Last week his job was advertised in the national press.
• Not the best day for Radio 4, as Naughtie and Marr come over all DH Lawrence. The World at One, meanwhile, interviews an imposter. He was supposed to be Mike Crockart, Lib Dem MP for Edinburgh West, discussing tuition fees. But because of an error in a directory of MPs’ phone numbers, the Beeb and the Evening Standard ended up with "Eric", a prankster working on a building site in Manchester. "At first he thought it was one of the lads having a laugh," said a colleague. "He just went with it. I don’t think he knows what a tuition fee is." Just wait until he has kids.
• Finally, where would American literature be without masturbation, asks the bestselling author Douglas Kennedy, pondering aloud to the Anglo-American Press Association in Paris. Kennedy had in mind Tea Party star Christine O’Donnell’s campaign against such practices. He’s agin it. Literature and self-discovery. They go hand in hand.