The hope is that if the Palace does rise 40 feet in the air over Parliament Square - preferably with political staff in situ - the Government will be so alarmed that it will scrap the controversial Criminal Justice Bill, which could come into force that day. (So confident are the organisers that they have actually written to Heathrow airport advising them to suspend all flights that day.)
Needless to say Westminster Council is already forming a strategic plan of security and MPs are investigating alternative routes to work that day. Not all of them however, are totally disapproving: 'I think it's a wonderful idea,
provided they can levitate it far enough and all the politicians are inside,' says Tony Banks, Labour MP for Newham. 'I'm sure most people would like it out of the country. . . somewhere pleasant and rural.'
Further to my note earlier this week regarding the new telephone number and system at the Royal Opera House I have received a letter explaining why I could not get through for 15 minutes. It is from a lady who writes: 'Lines were probably busy with callers who, like me, have received their tickets for the forthcoming Rheingold and Walkure (the first two parts of Wagner's epic Ring cycle) in the wrong order.' On ringing, to ask if they could be changed she was informed that 'lots are people are in the same position and nothing can be done'. I'm not sure I am as benevolent as the lady, who concludes: 'I'll try to ignore the suspicion that box office staff didn't know Wagner intended the first two parts of the Ring to be heard in any particular order.'
Bets are already running in the Commons as to which former Tory Party chairmen Tony Blair's newly-appointed press secretary, Alastair Campbell, is referring to in this week's Tribune. Commenting on how surprisingly ready senior Tories have been to offer him advice in his new post, he adds: 'Even former party chairmen appear to feel there may be some merit in a period in opposition to regroup and find a new philosophy. . .' The favourites, I gather, are Lords Parkinson and Tebbit.
With financial restrictions looking somewhat tighter following its pounds 1.1 million commitment to keep The Three Graces in Britain, it is lucky that the V&A's forthcoming exhibition, Street Style: from Sidewalk to Catwalk, provided the curators with an excuse for some cheapskate collecting methods. They have been hitting London nightspots, tapping unsuspecting clubbers on the shoulder and subjecting them to an earnest spiel on how their
t-shirt is in fact a valuable example of modern culture. 'Not everyone is prepared to lend their clothes,' explains one curator, adding, unsurprisingly: 'Some of them think you're joking.'
To the launch of The Glass Lake, the latest blockbuster by Irish novelist Maeve Binchy. I am afraid your diarist made something of a faux pas by asking Ms Binchy where her literary son, Dan, was. Now, since the writer Dan Binchy is 54, and, as it turned out only six months younger than his cousin Maeve, Ms Binchy did not look too favourably upon me. She embarked (appropriately) upon a discourse on linguistic confusion. 'I think I have finally realised why there have been so many years of misunderstanding between the Irish and the British,' she explained. 'I hope, in this book I have finally got the true distinction between the British and Irish characters right. . . the English give short answers - usually 'yes' or 'no'; whereas if you ask an Irish person: 'Did you go to the races?' the reply will be 'well, now, I wasn't there last Saturday but I was there three weeks before that and that was because so and so was running whereas last Saturday I felt that. . .' I wonder if Ms Binchy should offer her services to Albert Reynolds as an interpreter.
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