Pandora

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
THE SWORD of truth has been sheathed. Conservatives in Thanet South have chosen Mark MacGregor to win back the seat lost by the former "sleaze" minister Jonathan Aitken at the last election. MacGregor's curriculum vitae is formidable. At the moment he is busy co-ordinating the Tory campaign for this year's plethora of elections. In days gone by, his activities were even more futile. As chairman of the Federation of Conservative Students, MacGregor oversaw an organisation whose members espoused decriminalising incest, legalising hard drugs and privatising the Royal Family, and which claimed that Harold Macmillan was a war criminal. MacGregor himself was one of several extreme Tories who campaigned against the Anglo-Irish agreement in 1986 and was at the forefront of rebutting charges that the FCS had been involved in violence and vandalism at a university conference in Loughborough. All glamorous stuff, but in the end even Norman Tebbit thought the FCS too right-wing; he gave them a dose of their beloved capital punishment and chopped them off. Come back Jonathan, all is forgiven.

u

LIFE'S BITTER ironies. As Home Secretary Jack Straw sanctioned the extradition process against General Pinochet, a book about the corruption of justice in Chile was banned in Santiago. The Black Book of Chilean Justice managed only a day on the bookstands before Servando Jordan, a former president of the supreme court and with a starring role in the book, successfully moved a writ against it. The author, Alegandra Matus, has, as they say, left the building.

u

LAUNCHED THIS week was the Channel 5 website, complete with a cartoon not-so-lookalike of the presenter Melinda Messenger (pictured). Only trouble was, those eager to surf 5's waters had to rejig their software to get a picture. Sound familiar?

u

MEANWHILE, THE C5 supremo David Elstein has switched channels on his long-held belief that the BBC should be funded by subscription. Conveniently, for the man who wants to take over from John Birt as Director-General of the Beeb, his about-turn in favour of the licence fee was screened at a forum of BBC governors this week. Having achieved this nice bit of PR, Elstein, it may be safe to assume, is confident of his chances - so confident, in fact, that some say he has even forgotten to put in his application form and is simply waiting for the phone to ring.

u

"WE ARE a grandmother." Congrats to Pandora reader Shirley Williams, who is now a granny. "The hardest part of the birth was keeping her out of the delivery room," quipped the feisty baroness's son-in-law about the arrival of the sweet-natured baby Samuel Honey.

u

LAUNCHED THIS week, the smoker-friendly business card by Forest, the smokers' pressure group. Wheezers everywhere can now ingratiate themselves with non-smoking establishments by leaving a card that reads: "To the manager: sorry, but I won't be recommending your business to my friends and colleagues because your ban on smoking gets right up my nose." Fiery stuff.

u

ONE MAN who will be pleased by Manchester United's epic FA Cup victory this week is the Welsh nationalist leader Dafydd Wigley. The Plaid Cymru politician has supported the Red Devils since his time at Manchester University in the Sixties. Any guilt that Dafydd may have about not supporting Wrexham or Swansea is at least partly erased by the fact that Ryan Giggs - who scored the killer goal against Arsenal - is Welsh.

u

WINNER OF Pandora's saucer of milk this lap is that ageing club kid James St James. He's written a spectacularly vitriolic book called Disco Bloodbath, published today by Sceptre, about the notorious Michael Alig night-club murder.

Brit interest will probably centre on St James's searing allegations about Peter Gatien, the flamboyant night-club proprietor who created the Limelight in London's Shaftesbury Avenue. For legal reasons we can't go into details here. But James does describe Alig, when he betrays Gatien by trying to frame him on racketeering charges, as "a grizzled old she- hag... bitter and lonely as a withered stick of rhubarb". Miaow!

Contact Pandora by e-mail: pandora@ independent.co.uk

Comments