Pandora: The Box

And pigs might fly

PANDORA has a modest proposal for Tony Blair. If he wants to put an end to all the carping about his relationship with Rupert Murdoch, he should send Tony Banks, minister for sport, on a fact-finding mission to Spain. Eight months ago, the Spanish parliament passed a law requiring important football matches to be broadcast free on television. Now the Spanish are about to appoint a new sports council that will go beyond just football and declare a wide range of sporting events in the public interest. All those selected will be off-limits to satellite or cable pay TV. Surely if Blair adopted a similar policy here, the enormous gratitude of the British viewing public would eclipse any hostility broadcast by an outraged Murdoch and his media mouthpieces.

Old joke, new danger

FOLLOWING the Prime Minister's speech to the Millennium Bug conference at the Barbican yesterday, John Humphrys, of the Today programme, chaired a panel on the subject. The headstrong radio presenter, who fell foul of the Government for his supposedly rough treatment of Harriet Harman last year, led off with a joke. It told of a new Labour MP who goes to the barber to have his hair cut but refuses to take off the headphones he is wearing. All the barber's entreaties prove useless; the MP insists that "Peter Mandelson says that I must wear these at all times". This makes the barber's job much more difficult and, eventually, he cajoles the MP into taking them off. Within moments, the MP begins to gurgle, choke and then dies. Sometime later, after the politician's body has been carted off for the post-mortem, the barber finds the headphones that have fallen off in the confusion and decides to have a listen. He hears the recorded voice of Mandelson, repeating: "Breathe in ... breathe out... breathe in ..." Pandora's prediction: John Humphrys won't be chairing many Government-sponsored panel discussions in future.

Tasteless memorabilia

AMERICAN marketing genius - that inspired immodesty which turned a cartoon mouse into billions of dollars and cheap hamburgers into an international corporate empire - is bearing down on President Clinton's Zippergate. Among the 3,000 "novelties" on display at this year's National Memorabilia Convention will be a computer game in which players try to direct Monica Lewinsky across Washington and into the Oval Office. Also a talking "Lewinsky" doll that says "I'm a good intern", "All hail to the chief" and "Whatever you want, Mr President". There are Lewinsky masks for Halloween, Lewinsky birthday cards ("I'll blow out your candles"), Lewinsky wigs, Lewinsky sex toys and even a "Monicondom" that is supposedly designed just for oral ... enough of this tat. Pandora can't help thinking that Cecil Parkinson, David Mellor and Robin Cook are all fortunate they suffered their worst embarrassments on this side of the Atlantic. On the other hand, Pandora fears that Monica Lewinsky's example will provide Fergie with new money- making ideas.

It must be the food

THE Norman Invasion, Part II, is coming to your local post office, bus stop and corner shop. According to Le Figaro, there are now 60,000 French citizens seeking their fortunes in the City of London alone. Meanwhile, a French consular official estimates that there are about 180,000 French men and women resident in Le Bretagne Cool. Many in this unprecedented new wave of Gallic immigrants are under 30 years old, with a Le Figaro poll showing that, after the United States, Britain is the second most popular emigration destination for a generation severely disillusioned with its own society. Not only is the unemployment rate in Paris twice what it is in London, but we now have dozens of Michelin-starred restaurants on this side of the Channel. Poor de Gaulle must be spinning in his grave.

Comedy of errors

SHAME on the Northern Examining Board, whose further GCSE English practice papers for 1998 contain the flagrant misspelling "practise" in bold type on their title page. Pandora suggests the examiners consult their Fowler's Modern English Usage.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
football
Life and Style
Jack Cooksey goes for the grand unveiling - moments before dropping his new iPhone 6 on the floor
iphone launch
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Life and Style
Customers look at the new iPhones on display at the launch of the new Apple iPhone 6 and iphone 6 plus at the Apple IFC store in Hong Kong
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Primary Supply Teacher - Loughborough

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Are you a Teacher looking fo...

Primary General Cover Teachers

Negotiable: Randstad Education Leicester: Are you a Newly Qualified Teacher lo...

Part Time Primary Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Part Time Primary TeacherOur...

Science Technician

£7 - £8 per hour: Randstad Education Cheshire: The Job:School Science Technici...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week