Pandora

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The Independent Culture
ALUN MICHAEL'S campaign to become leader of the new Welsh Assembly has taken another tumble on the downward slope. On Monday Pandora reported that the Secretary of State for Wales sustained a double blow when only 25 people attended the first of his devolution tour meetings at Newport Civic Centre last week, whilst, in the same building, Newport West Labour Party voted 23-3 to back Michael's rival for the nomination, Rhodri Morgan.

The latest hiccup occurred in Neath, constituency of Peter Hain, junior Welsh Office Minister and Michael's campaign manager. Neath Labour Party's General Management Committee voted 20-16 in favour of Rhodri Morgan. Luckily Michael was not speaking at the same venue this time.

HEADS WERE turned in the Commons on Monday when the MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire, Jackie Lawrence, arrived for the start of a new parliamentary week - her hair dyed from brown to blonde. A somewhat amazed Lawrence told Pandora: "I've only been back two hours and already the telegraph wire is buzzing." Stepping back from her amazement at the parliamentary grapevine, which is naming her the Marilyn Monroe of Pembrokeshire, the MP admitted that she had died her hair to mask greyness. "As everyone knows, you can't go back to your original colouring a la Ann Widdecombe," Lawrence confided.

PANDORA SALUTES the burgeoning British actors Alan Cumming (pictured) and Jane Horrocks, who have come far since their success in the Donmar Warehouse production of Cabaret five years ago. Cumming, who is still playing the role of Emcee in the Broadway production, has carved out a growing film career to include Titus Andronicus with Anthony Hopkins, due to start filming next year. Meanwhile, Jane Horrocks is building on the success of another of her musical roles in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, which British film-maker Mark Herman has transferred to celluloid. Herman explained to EW Online why he kept Horrocks in the lead role: "To hear a Judy Gar-land impression coming out of an apartment in Chicago isn't as quirky as hearing Garland come out of an apartment in Scarborough. It seemed immoral to do a version of Little Voice without Jane."

WHEN THE Washington National Airport was renamed the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport by a narrow margin in Congress this February, Democrats were dismayed. But this was just the beginning, as Grover Norquist, chairman of the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project, explains: "We have two goals; to get something named after Ronald Reagan in all 50 states, and have as many [things] named after Reagan as there are for John F Kennedy, a suitable honour given Reagan's accomplishment as President." Reaganisation doesn't stop at home, Norquist tells the Washington Times: "We're dealing with [governments] around the world, looking to name things for Reagan internationally, such as we've done for Churchill here in America." Is there a place in Britain for the Ronald and Margaret Tunnel of Love?

TOUGH TORY MP David Davis, not known for his sentimental displays of emotion, was seen on American television this weekend hugging his friend Victor Daley. Thirty years ago, during the Vietnam war, Daley succeeded in a dangerous helicopter rescue of fellow soldiers. Daley was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions but, in the confusion of the war, the Pentagon lost the papers. He received his award last week at a ceremony in Iowa that David Davis flew out to attend. As Chairman of the House of Commons' Public Accounts Committee, Davis is normally the hammer of bureaucratic incompetence. However, the MP was tolerant of the Pentagon's error: "If they hadn't screwed up, his sons and friends would not have had this chance to celebrate Vic's outstanding courage."

THAT FAMOUS football disciplinarian, referee David Elleray, will be putting a few more noses out of joint as he joins a local campaign against noise pollution in Harrow. The Premier League referee and former Harrow School housemaster will be quietly blowing his whistle on loud music and showing the red card to noisy neighbours who, he tells the Harrow Leader, "shatter the peace and cause annoyance". No doubt Elleray's well-documented run-ins with Gordon Strachan and David Beckham will have provided invalulable training ground for this new local hero in the making.

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