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Thursday, 18 May 2006

Stand by for ministerial fall-out

PETER HAIN, Margaret Beckett, Hazel Blears, Ben Bradshaw, David Miliband, Ed Balls . . . which of these government ministers will be the first to resign? To them we could add Charles Clarke, were it not, of course, that he has already gone.

These six, along with more than 50 other Labour MPs, are members of Sera, the Socialist Environment and Resource Association. Sera, a Labour lobbying group, is quite rabidly anti-nuclear, as its published submission to the Government’s energy review shows quite clearly.

To pick a few choice phrases: nuclear power is “almost irrelevent to the short-term problem of CO2 emission”; and nuclear power stations are “potential terrorist targets”. More- over, “a legacy that remains unpredictably toxic for thousands of years symbolises the complete incompatibility of nuclear with any known definition of sustainable development”.

Pretty strong stuff, we tell a spokeswoman for Sera.

“Well, yes,” she agrees. “We have always been an anti-nuclear organisation.”

And it’s becoming increasingly clear that Tony Blair feels differently. So which of your high-profile members will be falling upon their principled swords? “Not all of our members will agree the minutiae of individual policy.”

Nuclear power stations? Minutiae? We had no idea.

Not ideal

What John Prescott meant to say in the Commons yesterday:

“What we want is a fair and affordable pensions scheme.” What John Prescott actually said in the Commons:

“What we want is an affair and affordable pensions scheme.”


With all the inevitability of death, taxes or somebody not quite having sex in the hot tub, Big Brother is almost upon us.

“I love it,” reflects Dermot O’Leary, the co-host, “but it’s become more difficult to defend. I can’t really say to journalists, ‘These people get psychologically vetted: they don’t let people in who are unstable,’ because they can turn round and say, ‘Michael Barrymore’.”

Aptly enough, according to reports from the South Coast, a Brighton-based psychedelic singer with Tourette’s syndrome is about to be confirmed as a contestant.


“Of course I f*****g well dye the beard,” Noel Edmonds told Press Gazette. “I keep a small firm going in Uzbekistan. A pipe comes up the Channel to my house. I’ve always done the highlights, for years . . . now the beard as well.”

  • The Canonbury Primary School in Islington, London (where else?), is offering lucky parents the chance to bid for a private performance by Chris Martin of Coldplay. He will, apparently, “PERFORM one of the band’s songs in your OWN FRONT ROOM (piano must be provided) . . . and max of 10 people in audience(!!!!!!)”.
  • Eyes boggling, People reads in several news reports that the Carry On franchise is about to be revived. The next instalment, Carry On London, is set to feature Vinnie Jones and Shane Richie, from EastEnders. Vinnie Jones. Repeat that to yourself.
  • Wednesday, 17 May 2006

    Public transport of delight for Dan Brown's mentors

    WELL, that’s one way to avoid a lawsuit. Deep within the reams of pseudo-religious geekery that poured out of last month’s The Da Vinci Code case, you may recall Dan Brown’s statement mentioning The Templar Revelation, by Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince. “I got all I needed for the Big Idea from The Templar Revelation,” said Brown, who probably read it hanging upside down, from a door.

    “We’re both in the film as passengers on a bus behind Tom Hanks,” a thrilled Picknett tells us now. “Dan Brown thought it would be a great hoot for the 2½ people in the world who’ll recognise us (and they’re our parents). It was, as our publishers rather sophisticatedly say, an hommage.”

    Well, that worked

    More sad news for the brains behind the Labour Party’s unspectacular “Dave the Chameleon” advertising campaign.

    Speaking at a Conservative Fastrack reception at Home House in Portman Square, London, on Monday night, David Cameron let it be known that his two-year-old daughter, who did consider the chameleon to be “that nice frog on the bike”, now refers to it as “my favourite video”.

    Presumably, that’s what you call spin, respun.

    They care a lot

    Hmm. Where to start with this one? On Monday night, at an auction for Palestinian refugee children, Philip Green paid £60,000 in a charity auction to win a kiss from Kate Moss. Having won, he donated it Jemima Khan, who accepted it, on camera, for more than 60 seconds. While he watched.

    So. We have the ex-wife of Imran Khan being cheered on in a “lesbian” kiss, to raise money for largely Muslim children. Like we said, where to start?


  • Tessa Jowell, the Olympics Minister, yesterday named the committee that will distribute lottery money for the Games and shape the nation’s youth for sporting endeavour: the Olympic Lottery Distributor, otherwise known as OLD. Brilliant. No wonder she kept her job.

  • Nicole Kidman says she is engaged to Keith Urban. The actress hosted a 30th anniversary gala in New York of the UN’s Development Fund for Women with the country music star as her date. “He’s actually my fiancé,” she told People magazine.
  • Gamma minus for staff in the office of Boris Johnson, the Shadow Minister for Higher Education, who have sent out a press release entitled “Lecturers Pay Dispute” (sic), which talks about “student’s exam papers” (sic). Education brief or not, de minimis non curat praetor. As Boris might say
  • Tuesday, 16 May 2006



    I can't quite get my head around exactly what it is,

    Whatever, I can't help thinking I'd rather go to the pub with the Countryside Alliance.

    but there is something deeply ironic about the inherent crapness of this 

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