Francis Beckett

An old friend who knows what he's talking about warns me against sympathising with David Triesman.

He writes: "Any objections to the Mail's nasty tactics (which I also deplore) should not lead to any sympathy for Lord T - our abiding memory should be of Triesman's treachery on top up fees."

In the euphoria of the moment, I'd forgotten this.  Given that he made his career in student and lecturer unions, to support topup fees at the behest of his new best friend Tony Blair was about as crude as treachery gets.

Years ago, the News of the World splashed the story of a young woman who had been sleeping with the late (and unlamented, at least by me) John Golding, MP and general secretary of the National Communications Union.  I was torn between loathing of the NoW's tactics, and pleasure that Golding's malign influence would be diminished.

According to the NoW, Golding showed his willy to the woman and suggested it might be the smallest she'd seen.  My old friend Chris Proctor, then a national official at NCU, met Golding at work on Monday and said "Now, John, I don't think we should go off half cock about this."