Of all the ornaments to Rupert Murdoch’s (slightly) more up-market tabloid, Patrick Kidd has to be one of the more polished.
He did the daily Parliamentary Sketch with aplomb and wit, until elbowed aside to provide space for the repetitive gybes and tropes of Quentin Letts-Not. Kidd is an enthusiast for the works of the Wonderful Wodehouse, as here:
As darkness started to engulf Europe near the end of 1938, PG Wodehouse not only lightened the gloom with his best comic novel but showed how Britain could get through the next few years. “Never let a pal down” is the code by which Bertie Wooster lives and, while he may be mentally negligible, his optimism, honour and decency (coupled with having an awfully clever sidekick to get him out of scrapes) epitomised the British spirit.
Neville Chamberlain was in Munich having a chinwag with Hitler when this tale of cow creamers, policemen’s helmets and leather notebooks was serialised in a British newspaper. It reintroduced some of Wodehouse’s finest characters: the newt-fancying Gussie Fink-Nottle, the formidable Aunt Dahlia, and that droopy, soupy specimen Madeline Bassett, with her most extraordinary views on stars and rabbits. Above all it gave us the vile Roderick Spode, commander of The Black Shorts and a brilliant send-up of all fascist dictators.
Beat that, Quentin Least.
Yesterday Kidd returned to his happy hunting ground: the follies of the Kippers, with this peroration:
Mr Batten beamed indulgently at his juvenile comrades acting like toddlers smearing excrement up the wall in a cry for attention, I thought of Ukip leaders past — Henry Bolton, who said he could strangle a badger with his bare hands and ended up living in a hotel with a model half his age; His Excellency Sir Paul Nuttall PhD, the Ashes-winning Nobel laureate and CV fabricator; Diane James, who wrote “under duress” as she signed her leadership form and lasted a fortnight; and Mr Farage, a shy, modest man who always refused to do any broadcasts after more than five pints — and regretted the demise of a party of dignity and professionalism.
For a few moments, reading Kidd’s piece, I sensed the spirits of Plum Wodehouse and Heil Spode! still walking amongst us. One for joy: one for sorrow.