Monday 31 August 1998
PANDORA SALUTES Gus Macdonald who, in a matter of weeks, has made a very auspicious impression as Minister for Business and Industry at the Scottish Office. The former chairman of Scottish Media has many friends north of the border, of course. They are now crowing that Macdonald has achieved more in one month than his predecessor, Brian Wilson, achieved in over a year. Wilson, you will recall, has gone to work under Peter Mandelson at the DTI where, as Pandora noted (3 August), conditions are highly favourable for party fundraising. Meanwhile, Macdonald's only mistake to date came when he scoffed at the SNP's proposal to use Ireland as a model for Scottish development. "Dublin is a great place to go for a stag night - but not for an economic policy," he said. The remark offended many on both sides of the Irish Sea. One economist said, "He is talking rubbish, and it doesn't look good to talk rubbish to people you are trying to attract to Scotland."
SPECIAL ADVISERS at the Department of Health no doubt felt they were more than earning their salary when they had to sell Gordon Brown's two- stage pay increases to unhappy health service workers. Now that Government special advisors have learned about their own salary arrangements, the DOH advisers have been "thanked" with a pay boost that comes in two stages, as well. Their reaction to this "what's good for the goose is good for the gander" scenario is, apparently, one of ironic amusement.
ALAN BORG, director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, wants to change the institution's name to reflect "every facet of the museum's attractions". Keen to win the prize bottle of champagne that Borg is offering for the winning suggestion, Pandora has been brainstorming. One possibility: a name seen on a roadside sign in rural America recently: "Gobs o' Antiques". Or, if Borg is looking for trendy street cred, how about just the name "Stuff".
ALWAYS AHEAD of the news, Pandora wants to be the first on this summer bank holiday to offer readers a Christmas shopping tip. A London company named Pinecove International is offering, via the Internet, an "International Press ID Card" for the bargain price of $239 (pounds 150). With this in hand, claims the company, anyone can gain discounts, free tickets, invitations to premieres, access to movie stars and "protection from callous government thugs at home or abroad". Best of all, according to the sales pitch, is that you don't have to do any reporting or writing. "All you have to do is state on your application form that you are pursuing journalistic interests." Completely sold, Pandora immediately tried to telephone Pinecove International to place a rush order. Sadly, the firm's number was unobtainable.
THE LATEST, post-cigar Zippergate joke has just reached our shores. Apparently, Washington insiders are now referring to Clinton as the second president in US history to have had a Cuban missile crisis. Meanwhile, one joke circulating in the British Embassy at the moment goes, "Tony Blair has done more favours for Bill Clinton than Monica Lewinsky, so when is he going to appear before the grand jury?"
MERYL STREEP (pictured), the actress with a 1,000 accents, all of them annoying, has recently replaced Madonna in a film called 50 Violins. Now Streep seems to be chiding the blonde bombshell about recent photographs she's posed for with her daughter Lourdes. "If you have your picture taken with your baby," Streep told the US magazine Good Housekeeping. "You have put your child under the umbrella of your fame." Pandora suggests that Streep take care or tough Madonna may decide to rain on her parade.
TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre