NEWS MONKEY

Click to follow
The Independent Online
ELECTIONS. With nationalists now set to be the main opposition in both the Scottish and Welsh Assemblies, even the Labour Party must be starting to wish the Conservatives would hurry up and recover. It would be impossible to assess whether Conservative gains in local elections amount to a Tory recovery without careful analysis of the results, which is a nice way of saying they don't. It does look as if the results will enable William Hague to hang on as leader, so there is some good news for the Tories. Oh. No there isn't. Sorry.

FAYED PASSPORT VERDICT. Poor Mohamed Al Fayed has been denied what would have of been the jewel in the crown of his passport collection, which includes an Egyptian model, an old one from Dubai and the highly coveted Haitian diplomatic. This setback will delay his ascent to the heights of the English establishment he so dearly loathes, but as owner of the House of Fraser he may be in line for one of the first Scottish passports. It's never too early to start lobbying Assembly members.

FREE BOX. There is a brand new TV war starting, and it's right here in Britain. Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB has launched a digital TV price war designed to flatten the competition, OnDigital. BSkyB subscribers will pay handsomely for the service, but the box will be free, a deal most dry cleaners have offered for years. OnDigital is considering a similar scheme, and neither side have ruled out ground troops.

MALLORY FOUND. The discovery of climber George Mallory's body on Everest would seem to solve the mystery of whether his 1924 expedition to conquer the mountain was a success: no. Even if it turns out he made it to the summit and died on his way down it could only be described as a partial success. Still, we salute those brave men who pioneered the idea of dying halfway up a mountain in conditions most adventurers would now consider unthinkable, without even the benefit of sponsorship.

MIR SPECULATION. The Mir space station will crash into Paris at 11:22am on 11 August 1999, says fashion designer Paco Rabanne. Anyone who thinks fashion designers are stupid obviously has no idea of the complex calculations involved in accurately predicting such an event. That he still has time to run up a few frocks is nothing short of a miracle. As Professor Rabanne himself put it: "Don't say you haven't been warned."

POLICE ESCORT. Sophie Rhys-Jones has a police bodyguard as part of a scheme to increase protection for people who look a little bit like Jill Dando. The old-fashioned notion of copycat killing seems to have been usurped by the still largely theoretical threat of the lookalike killing, no doubt a cause for concern for, among others, professional lookalikes.

TIM DOWLING

Comments