Diary: Do they mean Lindsay?

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Lindsay Lohan recently filed a $100m lawsuit against E-Trade, an online stock brokerage, over a TV ad featuring a "milkaholic" baby named Lindsay (or possibly "Lindsey"; the screenplay isn't readily available). Lohan's lawyer Stephanie Ovadia says it's defamatory, and a "subliminal" parody of her client. E-Trade says the US contains 250,000 Lindsays. Ovadia says Lohan's first name has the stand-alone status of Oprah's or Madonna's. Not so, says E-Trade: "Oprah" and "Madonna" are registered trademarks. This week Ovadia filed new papers: "Some names such as Bill, Hillary, Bush, Tiger, Paris, Johnny, Allen, are very common names," she contends. "There may be millions, if not billions, of people with these names in the world. Some words may not necessarily be just the names for human beings but may convey other meanings also... 'Tiger' is an animal and is associated with a jungle or zoo in a particular context. However, when used in the context of [the] Golf game world, it conveys [a] totally different message." Who could argue with that?

* James McGrath was one of a flurry of aides forced to depart City Hall under a cloud following Boris Johnson's 2008 London mayoral victory. The Australian spin doctor, 36, then Johnson's chief political adviser, made the unfortunate suggestion (to a journalist, on tape) that disgruntled African-Caribbean Londoners should move to the Caribbean if they didn't fancy living under a Tory regime. Two years later, and McGrath is being credited with the resurgence of Tony "the Budgie-Smuggler" Abbott's Liberal Party in Queensland, the key swing state in Australia's knife-edge election. The former Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull told The Australian that McGrath was "an astounding political professional". Another former employer, the Coalition's Cabinet Office minister, Francis Maude, described him as "magnificently efficient". Maybe Boris ought to invite him back for 2012 – if he runs again, that is.

* Also in Australia for the election, though with less to boast about in its aftermath, is the Labour spin doctor David Taylor. Taylor works for the shadow Welsh secretary, Peter Hain, but decided to spend his summer holidays volunteering with the Julia Gillard campaign. Bless. The 25-year-old from Denbighshire told the Western Mail he was struck by Gillard's frequent references to her Welsh roots. "I find it very refreshing that she has no inhibitions about her connection with another country – I'm not sure many British politicians would be prepared to do that." No, and something tells me Mr McGrath would have advised her against it.

* Plenty of names were floated for the Camerons' new daughter yesterday. William Hill's 2/1 favourite was Marnie, but the bookmaker also offered 50/1 on Margaret, 100/1 on Edwina and 1,000/1 on Speed (geddit?). Ladbrokes led its more conservative (small "c") assortment with Isabella at 8/1, but took into account the possibility of public input – on which Cameron is famously keen – with Cheryl at 33/1. I'd suggest Lindsay, but you never know: it might get me sued.

* Vince Cable has finally achieved his dream of driving an Aston Martin, I hear. The Business Secretary confessed his Bond-themed ambition on Desert Island Discs last year. And yesterday, he had his chance at a test track near Warwick, on a trip to the West Midlands to view various high-spec British cars, including Jaguar's "Limo Green" hybrid. The perks of the job go only so far, sadly: Cable was one of the first new ministers to do away with his official car, so he won't be able to order any eco-friendly Jags for his department.

* A young lady named Julie emails to upbraid me for asking, in Monday's column, who goes to the Staffordshire leg of the V Festival; for some strange reason, most of the non-performing celebrities seem to prefer Chelmsford. "Well," begins Julie, "over 85,000 people go there and I was one of them... [but] with a name like 'Ken' you probably couldn't stand the pace of a festival!" A little hard on my fellow "Kens", I fear, but duly noted.