Pandora

TRIAL BY Conspiracy - "The Lies, Cover-Ups and Injustices behind the Neil Hamilton Affair" - launched at Politicos on Monday. Jonathan Boyd Hunt's book was described by Neil Hamilton to Pandora as the "juggernaut that would beat that third-rate civil servant Downey" and finally exonerate him of the sleaze allegations that have haunted him. Given William Hague's rebuke to Hamilton at the time of the Conservative Party Conference, Pandora found it odd to see the Conservative frontbencher Alan Duncan attending the departure of this juggernaut with fellow Conservative MPs Peter Bottomley, Christopher Chope and Edward Leigh. Despite this apparent show of support, a spokesman for Mr Hague assured Pandora that "There is no bandwagon that will change the situation with Neil Hamilton vis-a-vis the Conservative Party."

Maybe, but there appear to be some people ready to get out and push.

MANY OF those assembled at the Trial by Conspiracy launch wondered how the Hamiltons survive without their parliamentary income. Christine Hamilton enlightened Pandora on one way the couple had cut down their expenditure since Neil lost his Tatton seat. "After the election we stopped getting any newspapers or magazines. We calculated how much it was costing us and just cut them out." However, reading material has resurfaced in the Hamilton household: "We subscribe to two journals now, The Spectator and Living Marxism."

DIANA DEATH conspiracy theorists will relish a new book and documentary due out next spring. Gideon's Spies by Gordon Thomas, and its sister documentary, the tastefully titled Underpass, will allege that the chauffeur Henri Paul, who died with Princess Diana and Dodi al-Fayed in the Paris crash last year, was on the payroll of Mossad, the Israeli secret service. Mossad found Paul's position useful at Mohamed al-Fayed's Paris Ritz Hotel, described as the "inn of choice for... potential enemies of Israel" by the New York Post. Thomas's book says that Mossad had pictures of the chauffeur pimping for hotel guests and proof that Paul had fraudulently got his job as Fayed's deputy director of security. Consequently, Mossad had Paul over a barrel. The book concludes that the stress of working for Mossad turned Paul into an emotional wreck during his time driving Dodi and Di around Paris.

THE FORMER White House press secretary Mike McCurry didn't hide his feelings about his former boss, Bill Clinton, when he addressed the University of Pittsburgh this week. "He is an enormously gifted and richly qualified leader for our nation but someone who is exasperatingly stupid in his personal life," the former aide proclaimed. McCurry, who resigned his post at the beginning of this month, also quipped that Clinton's presidency "will always be marred... stained... by the episode with Monica Lewinsky". The cherry on the cake of McCurry's speech came when a member of the audience asked him how he felt when he left the White House. According to the Associated Press, McCurry leapt in the air, arms aloft, and yelled: "Free at last."

THE FREAKY US rocker Marilyn Manson hits Britain in December, with audiences eagerly awaiting being shocked. Manson, who came to prominence with his Antichrist Superstar album, told a British newspaper recently that: "It's easy to shock Americans because they are so stupid". Whether or not the hellish star will count on equal gullibility on this side of the Atlantic remains to be seen, but he is not letting up at home. In an interview with Raygun magazine he tells how he used to pay off his drug dealers with paintings: "I'll... uh... sniff a big line. I'll get really stressed out. I'll run into my room and I'll paint a painting in five minutes." No doubt these shady characters hope that Manson's career goes from strength to strength, lest their payment devalues.

THE HOLLYWOOD legend Lauren Bacall (pictured) is to auction off her jewellery. Items from the film star's dresser that will be up for grabs include a gold basket-weave cigarette case with a sapphire thumb-catch, given to her by her partner on and off screen, Humphrey Bogart. A New York tabloid estimates that the case will sell for around $6,000, and a pair of diamond and gold earrings are valued at around $20,000. A case of to have and then to have not.

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