We know a little now about John Hayes, the former junior energy minister, who hates windfarms and has now been promoted out of the department to an altogether higher calling as David Cameron's eyes and ears (yes, the prime minister is so posh he even has someone to do the looking and listening for him) with the Tory backbenches in the Commons. You can tell a lot from how a man chooses to decorate his office. The MP for the interestingly named Lincolnshire constituency of South Holland and The Deepings has, according to a colleague who's been there, not only a portrait of Charles I (a leader and believer in divine right whose rule came to a sticky end) but also a bust of the great Earl of Shaftesbury, a notable 19th-century social reformer and a prickly evangelical who just couldn't get on with his Tory party colleagues, especially not with his party leader, Sir Robert Peel. "Where is Peel's heart now?" he muttered to himself, wondering that it might not please God to have him as prime minister. "Will he open his eyes and expand his heart to the mighty concerns of the present day, or will he lie entrenched in native coldness?" In this at least the evangelical true believer Hayes and former archbishop George Carey seem to have something in common. Hayes used to speak of Britain's gas reserves as God-given, but never quite explained – theologically or otherwise – why the same was not true of its wind resources.

Presidential letters: an ongoing correspondence. Once there was Thomas Jefferson, ruminating on the separation of church and state. Then there was Abraham Lincoln, working his way towards the abolition of slavery. And after that, Franklin Roosevelt on the New Deal … And now, well, there's George Bush (no, not that one, his dad) requesting toy ducks. Yes, it seems true. In the latest volume of his letters, published by Scribner, there's an epistle to the chairman and chief executive of the American insurance company Aflac in 2002 requesting a couple of the small, squawking, mechanical creatures used in its advertising promotions: "The truth is, I need two more of those … why, you might ask? Well the answer is Sadie, our beloved dog who sleeps on our bed and dominates our lives, loves the duck you gave me at that marvellous Aflac meeting in Las Vegas. It's quiet around our house now because the duck is missing. Frankly, I kind of like the quiet but Barbara and Sadie both miss hearing that duck go, 'Aflac! Aflac!'… I would be willing to pay for the ducks and even pay shipping and handling …" Other apercus from the 41st president include that he likes Silvio Berlusconi a lot and that the Bush nemesis Bill Clinton is fun to have along on trips.

Here's a turn-up: Channel 5 News earnestly sought Edwina Currie's opinion about living on £53 a week – not sure why her, but anyway – only to be told by her agent that her fee for giving it would be £500. She herself says she was too tired – must be a first – after doing five hours of radio. Pity, it might have kept the old girl going till the middle of June, if she was careful.

Yet another towering intellect weighs in with another reason for resisting gay marriage: actor Jeremy Irons says it may lead to fathers marrying their sons to avoid inheritance tax. That's something that might have occurred to the Borgias – he's just been playing one – but it would be incest. And that's illegal.

Things you never knew you needed: cycling trousers. No, not those skin-tight Bradley Wiggins lycra jobbies, but trousers you can actually wear while cycling somewhere! They're all the rage among east London trendies apparently, and a new magazine called Urban Cycling has a 10-page fashion shoot about them in its glossy pages. Anyone for reflective Japanese denim at €280 a pop, or slightly more affordable Vulpine tailored trousers, a snip for £120, featuring reverse reflective detailing on the backside? And to think you can still get a pair of super, untrendy cycle clips online for as little as £1.29.



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