Diary: The playing fields of Eton, the toilets at Haverstock

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The Independent Online

Haverstock School in Chalk Farm, North London, has been described – in this column and elsewhere – as "Labour's Eton", for it educated not only the Miliband brothers, but also the former MP and mayoral candidate Oona King.

Among the school's other celebrated alumni are the novelist Zoe Heller, the footballer Joe Cole and two members of the musical group N-Dubz, Tulisa and Dappy. Recently, the former future Labour leader Miliband (D) returned there, during his post-leadership-campaign recovery period, to teach politics.

The school's historic reputation may suffer a setback, however, after the recollections of the aforementioned Tulisa, right, were published in last weekend's Sunday Times Style magazine.

"We used to have police outside every day," claims Tulisa, burnishing her street cred. "People were smoking weed on their lunch break on campus. I was one of the lucky ones to keep my virginity for as long as I did. There were kids shagging in the toilets at the age of 12 in break time."

Doesn't sound much like Eton now, does it?

* A poll conducted for Vanity Fair magazine and the current affairs programme 60 Minutes has uncovered a disconcerting truth: more than two-thirds of Americans have no idea who Pippa Middleton is. Most remarkable of all is that just 21 per cent of American men are aware of Pippa and her many qualities. Fifty-two per cent of those surveyed said they "didn't know" who she was. Six per cent concluded that she was, in fact, a news correspondent for CNBC; 6 per cent that she was a children's book heroine (well, she should be); 2 per cent that she was a fashion designer; and 2 per cent that she was (ahem) an adult-film star. Evidently, I've been watching the wrong movies.



* Elsewhere in mildly reliable polls, a YouGov survey has found that George (né Gideon) Osborne and his shadow, Ed Balls, now share an equal measure of people's preference for Chancellor of the Exchequer: a resounding 27 per cent each. This merely helps to set the stage for Mr Balls's proposed head-to-head televised debate between the two, set to be the climactic scene in my notional, speech impediment-themed joint biopic, A Cock and Balls. Some other numbers to ruin Gideon's holiday in California: 68 per cent of Tory voters (not to mention 77 per cent of everyone else) support Balls's call for a reduction in VAT, and only 33 per cent (25 per cent overall) want to scrap the 50p tax rate.



* The spoof Twitter account @LizJonesSomalia (sample tweet: "Somali is such a beautiful language. I'd love to hear more of it but the people here only say 2 words – 'please' and 'help' – so sad.") may not be authentic, yet it seems almost plausible, given the genuine writings of its subject, Mail lifestyle columnist Liz Jones. In her latest beyond-satire whine this weekend, Ms Jones blamed the systemic failings of the NHS for her inability to organise a so-called "emergency" appointment at a GP's surgery (with which she was not registered) to get the necessary jabs to allow her to fly to Somalia to report back to the world about the country's famine and/or East African footwear trends (probably). For some reason, Ms Jones opened by outlining her many private medical arrangements: "a private GP, gynaecologist, two therapists and a dentist, who charges £900 for a root-canal filling". Two therapists?! Did the first one have to outsource the excess bleating?



* We return again to pop music, and specifically to its relationship with Tom Watson MP, Hero of #Hackgate. Watson was recently spotted boogie-ing to Phil Collins in a Soho nightclub, before indulging in a spot of Twitter-based man-love with George Michael. This weekend he revealed that, during an admirably austere trip to Inverness in a caravan (beat that, Dave), he'd been shaking his booty to Shakira. Watson, the honourable member for West Brom East, has an unexpectedly glamorous past: not only did he once give Burt Bacharach a tour of Number 10, he was also the MP responsible for Shakira's visit to the House of Commons to watch PMQs in 2006. Hidden shallows.

highstreetken@independent.co.uk

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