Pandora

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
YESTERDAY DURING the Foreign Affairs Select Committee meeting, Robin Cook trumped a discussion on lengthy FO working hours by declaring: "My job is the number one passion in my life." When someone asked him about his famous enthusiasm for horse-racing, he confessed: "I'm sorry to say I haven't been able to go racing for three months." Nobody dared to ask the obvious question: What about Gaynor, his new bride of less than a year? Hopefully, she had a few passionate words to say when Cookie got home.

u

THAT GLEEFUL twinkle in Spectator editor Frank Johnson's eye is not entirely due to his impending marriage next week. There's also the blissful news that his conservative magazine's profits are up almost 50 per cent. No doubt the proprietor, Conrad Black, will be sending the newlywed Johnsons a luxury present. And what could be more appropriate than something from one of The Spectator's ultra-chic advertisers (Gucci, Louis Vuitton, etc) who have helped to fuel the once-struggling weekly's rise to financial glory? In the meantime, Geoffrey Robinson's New Statesman, sans luxury adverts but loaded with political correctness, is a long way from these giddy profit figures and still very much for sale.

u

WHILE CITIZEN Newhouse, a new, unauthorised biography of the Conde Nast billionaire SI Newhouse, is the book on everyone's Christmas list in Manhattan this year, it is the architectural historian Victoria Newhouse, Si's wife, who is making the local headlines. Mrs Newhouse has joined with her East Side neighbours to oppose the brash property tycoon Donald Trump's plan to build the world's tallest block of flats opposite the United Nations. Mrs Newhouse told the NY Observer that she did not speak on this issue for her husband; it seems that Si is friends with Donald. When the Observer's reporter asked if this issue was putting a strain on her marriage, Mrs Newhouse provided at least one authorised bit of autobiographical information. "The only marital problem we have," she said, "is arguing over what movies to rent."

u

LAST MONTH, the Government earned high praise for passing the Registration of Political Parties Act, which is supposed to stop electoral confusion. But Pandora has learnt that the use of misleading titles such as "Literal Democrat" or "Conversative", ruled out by the Act, could well continue. It seems that candidates can still use absurd "party" names on a ballot paper at election time if the returning officer allows them to do so. A Home Office spokesman told Pandora yesterday that some new guidelines for returning officers will be introduced next year, but would offer no guarantee on their rigour. Meanwhile, the new Act requires all political parties to register with Companies House and pay a fee of pounds 150 - whether or not the application is successful. Isn't this a rather novel way to lose your deposit - even before you stand for election?

u

ONE POLITICIAN who will definitely be relying on the discretion of the returning officer is Tommy Graham, MP for Renfrewshire West. After being expelled from the Labour Party in September, Graham currently calls himself Scottish Labour. Although this party wouldn't qualify to register at Companies House, Graham and others intend to run as Scottish Labour against official Labour candidates in forthcoming elections. However, he told Pandora: "Labour is such a dirty word in Scotland now, some of my colleagues think we should drop it altogether."

u

AS IF Christmas weren't stressful enough, now Pandora has received an extraordinary holiday health warning from the British Hernia Centre: "Whilst mincing the fruit for the mince pies or humping the Christmas pudding pose little threat, the real danger in the Christmas dinner is the turkey [pictured]." Dudley Rogg, the Centre's clinic director, says: "We see more cooks after Christmas than at any other time of year." The "danger" comes when the cook lifts the uncooked turkey out of the fridge and into the oven. While hernias are a valid concern, Pandora is far more alarmed by the mental health questions raised by someone "humping the Christmas pudding". Dudley, please clarify.

Comments