John Gibson: Max happy to roll with the punches

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If you’re up for it, and while the trial continues, here’s another morsel from my moss-gathering epic encounter in Edinburgh with Max ‘‘If I can help somebody’’ Clifford.

David Mellor, a former Cabinet minister, called him a sleazeball.

Clifford’s retort? “I can understand why Mellow called me that. We were asked to appear on TV together but he declined. Generally things don’t descend to that level but it can be tough out there and you have to be prepared to trade punches. A lot of establishment people – pompous, hypocritical types – detest me. I’ve had plenty malicious calls and letters, even death threats.

“But you stand up for what you believe in, John. It’s self-perpetuating. The more I’m in the tabloids the more people come to me with exclusive news of corruption, double standards and victimisation. People who are not equipped to handle the media the way I am.’’

Said Max summing up then (and he’ll be hearing considerable summing up in court): “I’ve been around in business for myself for nearly 30 years and because I’ve been around in entertainment and done the social rounds it takes a lot to shock me. I’m in a unique position.

“I’ve been at the sharp end at the right time and, truly, I never planned it to get this big.”

Afterwords . .

. . . from Joan Bakewell, one of TV’s golden oldies, one the first women to break into television journalism: “The worst job I’ve ever done was waitressing. People are so rude.”