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.
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
- 2 Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'nude pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
- 4 Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
- 5 New Tricks: Dennis Waterman to leave the show after a decade of crime-solving
Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea's 'Booty' music video is just a load of butts
Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written
Friends 20th anniversary: The highs and lows of the cast's careers since TV series ended in 2004
Friends 20th anniversary: Six things we wouldn't have without influential comedy series
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'