Column One: Brussels threat to UK loos

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The Independent Online
Now Brussels wants to interfere with our lavatories. Kevin McDonald, Polypipe chairman and managing director, warned yesterday that Eurocrats are planning to harmonise flushing systems. Continentals use the flush-valve, as opposed to our superior siphon system. The flush-valve dribbles, uses more water and makes all sorts of gurgling noises. Expect a backbench revolt.

British Airways is abandoning its box at Wembley Stadium from the end of the month, after a one- year trial. Why? Lord King's elevation to the presidency cannot be the reason - he hardly uses it. Sir Colin Marshall cannot be interested in football anyway since he is an Arsenal fan and really prefers tennis. The explanation lies surely with the departure of David Burnside, spin doctor and Spurs supporter. The Spurs vs Arsenal FA Cup semi-final on 4 April could have led to argy bargy in the box.

Lord Barnett, deputy governor of the BBC, yesterday welcomed the chance to be friendly to journalists after the Birtist brouhaha. But the former Chief Secretary to the Treasury, while presenting the prizes for Accountancy Journalist of the Year on behalf of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants, remarked: 'It is a pity more of your colleagues do not understand accounting.' That does not apply to our own Roger Trapp, of course. He walked away as runner-up with a Mont Blanc pen. .

More social trends statistics from Clinton Cards. The high street card shop sold 2 million Valentine's Day cards, 9 per cent more than last year, disproving the adage that love flies out the window when poverty walks in through the door. True to received wisdom, however, Clinton estimates that 90 per cent of cards are bought by women.

Embattled democrats in the former Soviet Union can take comfort from the fact that a US soft drinks company has done its best to denude Russia of Communist badges and stamps. Barq's Root Beer ran a campaign last year in which punters would receive red nick-nacks in return for Barq's bottle tops. Barq's said yesterday: 'Depletion of such inventories has made a come-back of Communism just that much more difficult.'

No arguing with the logic of More O'Ferrall's decision to sell its loss-making Californian advertising business. 'New rules meant that we, not the city, were responsible for keeping the area round the benches (which carry the adverts) clean and tidy. Last year's LA riots persuaded us that we might as well sign a blank cheque.'