Diary: Chip off the old block tirelessly serves Scotch

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The Independent Online

Has Prince Harry been picking up a few tips from his uncle Andrew about the importance of flying the flag for British business while having fun abroad?

While the Duke of York continues selflessly to travel the globe on behalf of British industry (despite saying he would stop doing so six months ago), news reaches us that his nephew will soon be combining his charity work with a spot of publicity for the premium Scotch market – by playing polo in Brazil.

The "finale" to Harry's first official visit to the South American country in March will apparently be the Sentebale Royal Salute Polo Cup – an event that happily conjoins the Prince's children's charity in Lesotho with a top-end whisky brand.

A breathless missive from its maker, Chivas Brothers, reports: "The Brazilian appetite for the world's leading luxury Scotch is clear with sales of Royal Salute more than doubling over the past year." Every little helps.

NI's newest recruit at the front line

Talk about being thrust into the front line. The newest recruit to the battle-hardened ranks of News International's corporate affairs and communications department didn't make it all the way to the office, on only her second day.

Four weeks ago Emily Coen was busy backing the bid to bring the Olympic torch to Whitchurch at the Basingstoke Observer. On Tuesday morning, en route to day two at Murdoch central HQ, she was diverted to Guildford Crown Court to send back reports on how the fraud trial of the former NI chauffeur Paul Maley was progressing.

Did NI have no faith in the local court reporting service? Did they merely want their own ring-side intelligence on this uncomfortable tale, through Miss Coen's excellent shorthand skills? We have no reason at all to believe they didn't trust The Independent's own legally sound reports from Guildford. But in these days of Leveson-approved reportage, who knows what to think.

An end to wasteful Commons motions?

Who knew it wasn't just licence-fee payers' money keeping Strictly's Ann Widdecombe in sequins, but taxpayers' too? Well no more! An Early Day Motion saluting the industrial winch-riding former member for Maidstone, for "putting a smile on the nation's faces", is, for Graham Evans MP, one of many "ridiculous and superfluous motions that damage the reputation of the House of Commons and cost the taxpayer around £1m a year in publishing and printing costs", and he is going to do something about it.

The member for Weaver Vale has campaigned fearlessly on the issue since his arrival in Parliament in 2010 (stopping only to be caught on camera absent-mindedly playing air guitar behind Liam Fox during defence questions, a relatively minor man-in-back-of-shot-gate compared to what was yet to unfold).

He now informs us he has "secured an adjournment debate on reforming Early Day Motions on Monday". Yes, an adjournment debate. For those unfamiliar, according to parliamentary guidelines, "adjournment debates allow members to discuss a subject without reaching a formal decision".

Recent topics? "Educating future generations about the Lidice massacre", "The BBC's Hindi Service", and last but not least, "Rail services to Grimsby and Cleethorpes". As David Brent very nearly once said, Graham, get the guitar.

Art school snub finally forgiven

The British artist David Shrigley, left, may be forgiven for feeling a little smug at the launch of the first major retrospective of his works at the Hayward this week.

Such is his following that some ardent fans have had his drawings tattooed about their persons, but it wasn't always this way. At least not when he left the Glasgow School of Art with a 2:2.

"It's what they give you for showing up, basically," he told us, but he isn't bitter, adding, sanguinely, "I forgive all my detractors."

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