John Gibson: We should book Le Carre for festival

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What we need at this year’s Edinburgh Bookfest is somebody of John Le Carre’s stature. Somebody who’ll speak out loud, as he did last week at the Hay Bookfest and tell it like it is.

“We pretend we haven’t got a political establishment and that’s utter nonsense . . it’s mainly public school, it’s mainly – as we say – people like us.”

An Old Etonian himself, Le Carre adds: “It’s a pretty formless establishment in many ways but its spiritual home is the secret world. It is what access you have, what committees you sit on, what secrets you’re admitted to.”

Admitting him to Charlotte Square in August would have been a rare pleasure, more so if he’d repeat: “It’s hilarious, to me, to hear Michael Gove encouraging schoolchildren to learn history when politicians patently know none.”

Tiny minds

Scientists at Cambridge University are working on a £5 million experiment to understand the teenage brain. First, do they have one? And do we really want to go there?

Meantime, the NHS Trust in a survey have found that from five to 16-year-olds they don’t know how to use the lavatory. To 16! From there they graduate to toilet paper. It shouldn’t be true. It’s called progress.

The word is . . .

What’s this ‘‘chillax’’ that’s slithered into the vocabularly of late? The word has become fashionable and only the Prime Minister in his jazzy footwear on his latest Ibizan jaunt with Samantha seems to know.

Find out for yourself. The word is chill and all I can tell you is that it’s not a laxative and it’s not available over the counter. So relax.