Diary: Bum steer on Pippa's rear

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The Independent Online

While the matter of Carol Vorderman's controversial victory in the annual "Rear of the Year" awards seemed settled, after bookies refunded any losing bets placed on Pippa Middleton's pert behind, this particular bunfight now looks set to run and run, like the lovely Pippa competing in a mini-marathon. "Call yourself a journalist?" demands one Alan Hardie, in a pungent email addressed to this column. "How are we, your concerned readers, expected to make a judgement about the shocking 'Arse-gate' debacle without comparative pictures? Preferably in colour. Preferably side by side. Frankly, the high standards of journalism we have come to expect from The Independent are sadly lacking here. Please see to it that this is rectified." Alan, I shall.

* At long last, a date has been set for the final selection of the Liberal Democrat London mayoral candidate: 12 August, while everyone's on holiday. To the great relief of party members, a second nominee has been persuaded to run against the Estonian juggernaut, the glamour model-bothering Lembit Opik. And, as if to add to the case for my still sadly uncommissioned television sitcom Anyone But Lembit (in which Opik – playing himself – tries, with increasing desperation, to persuade the party leadership of his mayoral qualities), his rival really is "anyone". To be more precise, he is the London Assembly member Mike Tuffrey, previously best known for professional accountancy. Lembit, for his part, is ready to roll his sleeves up, just like in Miami Vice. "From now on," he calls to tell me, "I'll be taking a much tougher stance against all the rubbish that's written about me in the press and indeed by members of my own party... The shadow-boxing is well and truly over!" I tried to explain that I was jolly busy, and he really ought to speak to the news desk instead, but he was having none of it.

* Pippa Middleton's behind also threatens to cause a diplomatic rift between Britain and France, just as the two nations are locked in a tense coalition over Libya. Last week, French establishment mag Le Point, saw fit to publish an outrageous article by Patrick Besson entitled: "Pippa Middleton is Ugly". The future King's sister-in-law, he claimed, possesses "a posterior that's not, in fact, especially round or prominent, that's a little inert ..." Besson then went on to disparage Miss Middleton's breasts. Frankly, the sexism of the French male is shocking.

* After John Bercow, the Cuban-heeled Speaker of the House of Commons, decided last week to publicly denigrate the Daily Mail as a "sexist, racist, bigoted, comic cartoon strip", one presumed it was only a matter of time before the estimable organ turned its guns on Señor Bercow and/or his wife once again. In fact, it's the paper's stablemate, The Mail on Sunday, that has fired the first retaliatory salvo, with the MoS contributor and former odious Big Brother contestant Derek Laud accusing Bercow himself of racism and homophobia. Señor Bercow's views were "vile", his behaviour "stomach-turning", even "mad", writes Laud, once a fellow member of the Conservative Monday Club. Yet it seems the future Speaker always spoke out against one particular form of prejudice: "He was not sensitive to anything, or anyone," writes Laud, "apart from his height – 5ft 6in – and often accused people of 'heightism'." Poor little chap.

* News of another Daily Mail bête noire: The BBC, which has, allegedly, enlisted a "Chair Champion" to help staff at the corporation's new Salford HQ to choose the chair that's right for them. The denizens of MediaCityUK are to be given a choice of three different hi-tech seats, and the "Chair Champion" will aid them in their selection, demonstrating each model's workings as part of health and safety training. Whether they will also be responsible for teaching staff how to use BBC Salford's soon-to-be-iconic "hooded collaboration pods" is as yet unclear.