Diary: Hannah makes a splash

Daryl Hannah was arrested in DC this week at a rally against a proposed oil pipeline. Yet despite her history of campaigning for trees, air and fluffy animals, Hannah didn't always live up to her own high standards. While dating JFK Jr, she enjoyed heli-skiing: skiing on slopes accessible only by helicopter. The practice is banned in some countries due to complaints about its carbon footprint, noise pollution and disruption of wilderness areas. One practitioner tells me she accompanied the Kennedy party to the Canadian Rockies in the 1990s, even sharing a bathroom with Hannah and "her mountainous wash-kit". The actress, says my source, often returned to the lodge early as she was tired, forcing the chopper to make two fuel-guzzling round trips: "She was in Splash, so the guys would snigger about meeting the mermaid in the jacuzzi." Jacuzzis are deeply eco-unfriendly, though it's unclear whether Hannah joined the lads for a soak.

* For Andrew Mitchell to let his confidential briefing notes flap in the wind once may be regarded as a misfortune; to do it twice looks like carelessness. The Development Secretary, who inadvertently waved a government memo welcoming the departure of the Afghan President, has been pictured with sensitive documents before, as have Lord Mandelson, Hazel Blears and Chris Huhne. This column would like to recommend that Downing St issue ministers with key-fobs featuring the face of freelance photographer Steve Back, the man who snapped Mitchell on Tuesday, so that they remember to cover up when he's in the press pen. Among Back's other victims are BBC Director-General Mark Thompson (notes on the corporation's cuts coverage), Assistant Met Commissioner Bob Quick (details of an anti-terrorist operation) and Caroline Flint MP (memo on falling house prices, 2008). Back made his name in 1980 with a photograph of Princess Diana in a see-through skirt, and when not embarrassing Cabinet ministers, acts as a west London magistrate. The flaw in my key-fob plan? He prefers not to be photographed himself, so very few images exist.

* Tales from the tough life of a Prime Minister. Dave was at Mini's manufacturing plant in Cowley, Oxford, yesterday, to drive a special Mini off the production line. "There are a lot of great things you get to do as a Prime Minister," he said before squeezing behind the wheel, "but one of those things you don't get to do is drive a car. For over a year now, I haven't driven a car, so I can't tell you what pleasure it's going to give me to get into the 2,000,000th Mini." People chuckled politely as Dave climbed into the driver's seat and pootled towards the assembly area floor. Unfortunately, he overshot a turning on the way, so reversed back to the relevant corner before continuing his short drive. Experienced Cameron-watchers were surprised by the manoeuvre – Dave normally favours the U-turn.

* Meanwhile, back in Westminster, the PM's rival Ed Miliband lived up to that reputation for impeccable political instincts by allowing himself to be spotted taking tea with Sally Bercow and Señor John at the Portcullis House café. Congratulating Sally on her new column in the Star, a surefire way to reach potential constituents ahead of her threatened parliamentary run? Or discussing voting strategies (for the next CBB eviction night)?

* Scary-eyed US presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann told a campaign event that God was trying to "get the attention of the politicians" by afflicting the country's liberal-leaning Eastern Seaboard with an earthquake and a hurricane. Later she admitted she was being "humorous". Bachmann is yet to confirm, however, whether God was indeed responsible for the aforementioned natural disasters or not – and, if He was, what He actually meant by it. Some clarification, please.

* Finally, more from the spanking new Twitter account of emoticon-lover and unemployed reality TV panellist Cheryl Cole: "I'm gutted I can't use my little yellow men faces on here," Ms Cole laments. "They help me express what I'm saying..." :-(


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