The feral beast: Olive branch grasped

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The Independent Online

The eight-year rift between Express proprietor Richard Desmond and ex-employee Stephen Pollard is over.

After Pollard was sacked, the first letter of each paragraph of his final piece spelt out “Fuck You Desmond”, since when the two haven’t been on speakers. Now Pollard has started writing op-ed pieces. So how did the rapprochement come to pass? The Beast can reveal that Pollard and Desmond were guests of honour at a recent Cambridge University Jewish Society “Parents Weekend”, where Desmond’s son studies. Only last month Pollard offered an olive branch by telling the IoS he “totally regretted” the gag, which must have softened up Desmond. We’re happy to do our bit.

Mail fails on Olympic fishing trip

Daily Mail hacks were no doubt hoping to concoct a juicy immigrants-steal-our-jobs story when they were out flyering workers at the Olympic site last week, luring them to meet in Hackney Marsh car park for a group photograph. “Ten minutes – £20 cash in hand”, read the tempting leaflet. Imagine their dismay when only four cheerful chaps turned up, all apparently legal. Where have all the illegal immigrants gone? Come back, the Mail needs you!

A case of mistaken identity

A review of Josephine Hart’s novel The Truth About Love in The Times was accompanied by a photo of crime writer PD James. Oops! The gaffe wouldn’t be so embarrassing had the review not been written by Sarah Vine, wife of shadow schools minister Michael Gove. Hart’s husband is also a Tory grandee, Maurice Saatchi, so you might have expected Vine to spot the error when reading her proof.

Calmed by coffee

The slur by Starbucks’ Howard Schultz on our economy prompted a slew of pieces such as “Why I hate Starbucks” in the Mail. But why didn’t the free-trade-loving Guardian join the chorus of condemnation? Could it be because, as first reported here, The Graun is promoting the chain in exchange for having its papers exclusively flogged in Starbucks outlets? Yes siree – the paper’s contribution to the Schultz debate was to offer readers a free coffee.

Bose is on a sticky wicket

Does BBC sports editor Mihir Bose have something against the England Cricket Board? On Friday he repeated the claim that the Indian, South African and Australian cricket authorities had seen Sir Allen Stanford coming and turned down his cash, so why hadn’t the ECB? With a little digging, he would have discovered that India has a policy of not taking donations from individuals, dodgy or otherwise, while Stanford games would not fit into any of the others’ schedules.

Toby says Boo to his new editor

Both of Toby Young’s fans will know the impoverished columnist has downgraded from Shepherd’s Bush to Acton. Odd then that in Monday’s Standard he was back to trilling about a Bush pub. But who can blame him? Chez Boo (as it’s known) is much more inline with the spiritual and actual home of his new editor Geordie Greig.