Diary: Flint's rear gets in the way

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The Independent Online

Saucy Caroline Flint MP may have done some modelling for a leading newspaper, but that's no excuse to discuss her appearance. It's "insulting," she said, when "it gets in the way of other things I hope to contribute". So she'll be frustrated, I imagine, to learn that she's the leading contender for 2011's Rear of the Year award – first won 30 years ago by a perky Barbara Windsor. The shadow Communities Secretary had earned approximately 25 votes as of lunchtime yesterday. Awards organiser Tony Edwards, however, told me most of them seemed to have come from "made-up" email addresses. Intrigued, I rang a source close (but not that close) to Ms Flint, who finally admitted it was a ruse by Labour MPs, councillors, officials and party activists. "Last year we did the same for Harriet Harman, but she lost out to Fiona Bruce," he/she/they chuckled. "We knew how pleased Caroline would be. I'm afraid we couldn't resist it." The awards are in June. Best get voting.

* George (né Gideon) Osborne will be sad, if not surprised, to learn he's not among the nation's top five favourite politicians of 2010: according to a YouGov survey, Gideon is less popular than human floor-polisher Ann Widdecombe (who insists that she's no longer a politician), his gaffe-tastic inferior Vince Cable, and even – forgive me if I snigger – Gordon Brown. Perhaps, in an attempt to shore up his approval ratings, the UK's least likeable wallpaper scion ought to abstain from expensive foreign holidays. After all, his latest luxury sojourn at the royal-approved Swiss ski resort, Klosters, hardly screams "We're all in this together". His encounter with Mandy Mandelson and a rich Russian aboard a yacht in Corfu is well-documented. And – my personal favourite – on that same 2008 trip to the Greek Islands, Gideon was spotted cackling maniacally as he guided his motorboat towards a cluster of paddling children (I imagine). This summer, Gideon, try Butlins.

* News that Facebook's latest investor is Goldman Sachs – now proud owners of a $450m (£291m) stake in the social network – presents anti-bank campaigners with an ethical conundrum. Facebook is their most effective tool for organising marches, sit-ins, window-smashing sessions and so on. To many troublemaking leftists, however, Goldman epitomises the Machiavellian profiteering of its ilk: Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone called the investment bank "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity". Can we expect a mass defection to Bebo? Not according to David Babbs, executive director of campaign group 38 Degrees (which features elsewhere in today's paper): "Facebook didn't earn its status as a campaigning tool because of its ideological purity," Babbs assures me. "People have used Facebook to organise campaigns against Facebook, around things like its privacy policy. If they develop new relationships with the banking industry, they can expect a lot more of that. Facebook has become a quasi-public space where people expect freedom of expression; the company would have a fight on their hands if they tried to restrict that." Mark Zuckerberg (now worth £9bn) must be quaking in his flip-flops.

* In October, as the Beckhams tackled the unlikely aspersions cast on David's fidelity by a Bosnian of ill-repute, Victoria graced Marie Claire with a vivid image of their healthy love-life: "The other day... I was getting out of the shower," she recalled, "He's sitting there [in the nude]... And I thought, 'You done good, girl." Now their marriage is out of the (alleged) woods again, Beckham (V) seems comfortable casting aspersions of her own. "The other morning I looked across at David just after he'd woken up," she tells Vogue, "and thought 'You look really crap'." Ugly men of the world, rejoice.

* A family feud from the provinces: Roland Spencer, leader of Gedling Borough Council, has accused Mark Spencer, new Tory MP for Sherwood, of being in politics "for the money", after Spencer (M) continued to claim £6,000 in expenses from Gedling and Notts County Council following his election to the Commons. Pious Spencer (R) proudly refuses to claim any expenses for his council work. He's also Spencer (M)'s uncle. "There are some longstanding family issues," Spencer (M) told the Nottingham Post. "It's a little bit pathetic."