HANDBAGS AT dawn at Carlton's next board meeting? The media monolith's plutocratic proprietor, Michael Green, was asked about negotiations with the Hollywood tycoon Barry Diller. "No problem," Green smiled. "He's just an old Jewish queen." Green himself is a Jewish family man with a lively sense of humour. Let's hope his new co-director, Lord (Waheed) Alli, who's just sold his share of Planet 24 to Carlton for six zeros plus two commas, is similarly easy-going. Locals at Tenterden in Kent refer to Alli's long- term partner (and fellow Planet 24 sell-out beneficiary) Charlie Parsons as "the lady of the manor".


FAREWELL, FLAMING Ferraris. After James Archer's wheels fell off this week, the latest sobriquet for Credit Suisse First Boston's futures desk is "the Smouldering Skodas".


CONSERVATIVE EDUCATION policy offends the Government's palate. When the Tory spokesman David Willetts rose to speak in Thursday's education debate, Lucy, the faithful hound of the education secretary David Blunkett, threw up.


JOHN PRESCOTT'S Indian jaunt hasn't loosened his grip over colleagues at the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions. Our Number One Guy's chief steward phoned in to the departmental morning meeting this week to take a roll-call. Glenda Jackson, Michael Meacher and Nick Raynsford sheepishly indicated their attendance, "as if the boss had just called a school register", says one apparatchik.


CONSPICUOUS AMONG MPs signing an Early Day Motion to support the Royal National Lifeboat Institution this week ... Julia Drown.


WE'RE ALL familiar with those rapid-fire emergency-room scenes in Casualty (BBC1, tomorrow night) where blood spills, six-packs tremble and the scrubbed ones talk at 150mph. But what are they babbling about? Herewith, the first of Pandora's Subtitles for the Slang-Impaired. Coag screen: test assessing how effectively blood is coagulating. Going off: patient is deteriorating badly. Hopper: a malingerer who flits from hospital to hospital to get unwarranted attention. IV bolus: massive one-shot intravenous drug feed through a drip. Sinus rhythm: normal heartbeat. DOA: dead on arrival. DIC: died in casualty. DIT: died in transit. BID: brought in dead. PO: per ora (by mouth). PR: per rectum. PV: "Ladies only".


SAY IT ain't so, Bill. A US tabloid is about to break the story of how Slick Willy had the hots for three female secret service agents. One of them allegedly filed a formal complaint. Beltway insiders say rumours of a marriage split are Hillary's doing; she's playing victim as part of her long-term political strategy.


ARE THE legs coming off William Hague's kitchen table Conservatism? The party's house journal, a newspaper called The Daily Telegraph, ran a bold story pointing out that "William Hague doesn't have a kitchen table". Imagine the hapless hack's surprise when she was telephoned by the Boy Blunder. "Alice," Hague chided, "when you came over, we had coffee in the kitchen, didn't we?" Yes, she agreed. "Well, what do you think we were drinking it off?" Oops.


WINNER OF Pandora's saucer of milk this week is W magazine, which assembled its style cop to make over Camilla Parker Bowles for its next issue. "She's looking very dowdy and frumpy," says New York designer Carolina Herrera. John Joseph, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, is more clinical: "It looks like she's had a fair amount of sun exposure, and the skin has lost its elasticity." The knifestyler of the rich and famous advises immediate laser skin resurfacing - along with a neck- and face-lift. Even Bowles's barnet catches flak. Hollywood hairtresser Art Luna: "She's got to get rid of that weird short Farrah thing." But the cat with the cream is Julien Macdonald, sometime knitwear maven at Chanel and Lagerfeld. The Welsh wool wizard says Camilla needs a "more aggressive fashion attitude, otherwise she'll end up looking like Princess Anne". Macdonald's panacea? Black leather during the day, and at night - red only. "She should be a scarlet woman - after all she is anyway." Miaow!

Contact Pandora by e-mail: pandora@ independent.

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