The IoS Diary: Snow joke

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Remember Phil Woolas? He was the disgraced Labour minister found to have claimed expenses for tampons days after being memorably humiliated by Joanna Lumley over the Ghurkas live on TV. Just the man, then, to set up a lobbying company offering "political intelligence, analysis, interpretation and training". He has gone into partnership with a Tory and a Lib Dem to create Wellington Street Partners. So who are the other two? Well, Sir Sydney Chapman hasn't been a Tory MP for seven years, and Paul Keetch stepped down as Lib Dem member for Hereford in 2010, after he was photographed snogging the wife of SAS soldier-turned-author Cameron Spence. With a nod to The Independent's recent exposure of the seamier side of lobbying, a message on their website homepage is quick to point out: "What we don't do is lobby Government." So they're not even that useful!

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Theresa May has vowed to keep wearing her trademark kitten heels, despite coming a cropper on the pavement in Downing Street last week. The Home Secretary laughed off my suggestion that Tuesday's incident, when her foot came out of her shoe (it got stuck between two paving slabs), was embarrassing. "I don't think it's a fashion faux pas, it's a pavement faux pas," the minister of style told me on Thursday night, where she was guest of honour at the London College of Fashion's end-of-year MA show at the Victoria and Albert Museum. She was wearing a Vivienne Westwood multicoloured patchwork jacket, and purple L K Bennett heels. "I'm afraid that pavement has caught several people out," she added, referring to similar humiliations suffered by Hazel Blears and David Cameron's press secretary, Gaby Bertin. Has she complained to the Prime Minister? "No, I haven't." A little proactivity wouldn't go amiss.

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Newsnight hack Paul Mason may have to add a new chapter to his book Why It's All Kicking Off Everywhere, after it duly kicked off at the book's launch on Thursday. Security boo-boos at The Vault bar, under the arches at Waterloo station in London, got so anxious about the hordes of corduroyed revellers pouring in that they ordered the party to be closed down. Mason then leapt on stage and made a speech, saying he didn't understand or agree with what was going on, but then left. Someone else then clambered up and suggested a boycott of Verso books, as apparently they were responsible for inviting too many people. Some wondered if it was all a postmodern publicity stunt; others said it was the fault of the people who started smoking. "Then the chanting got going," says my man clutching the warm white wine. "For some reason it was in Spanish." Ay, caramba!

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Ping! An email from breast implant surgeon Laurence Kirwan, presumably not touting for business. He's writing to tell me he's glad that Ulrika Jonsson "has decided to support all the women who have used cosmetic surgery to boost their self-esteem and confidence". He adds that it's "been proved scientifically that not only does cosmetic surgery improve your self-esteem, but it can actually extend and improve the quality of your life". Really? How extraordinary. So we write back to ask for details of this scientific study that proves boob jobs make you happier and live longer. Answer came there none. Strange – even shampoo-makers know you have to back up ludicrous claims with evidence, giving birth to that annoying catchphrase "Here comes the science!"

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The Heritage minister clearly has far too much time on his hand, as his departmental blog shows. In a new posting using the word "oeuvre" sets him off on a bizarre ramble about canapé etiquette. "Nice word," he writes. "And it was only while digging around to see if it was entirely the mot juste that I realised the expression hors d'oeuvre – meaning, literally, 'apart from the main thing' – comes from the same root." He goes on: "They're the little nibbly things that get brought round at drinks parties" – really! – and "in French the word is both singular and plural, though the English think nothing of sticking an S on the end if there's more than one". For those still awake, he goes into Hyacinth Bucket mode to pronounce that "hors d'oeuvre may be served at the table, as a part of the sit-down meal, or before sitting at the table. Hors d'oeuvre prior to a meal are either stationary or passed. Stationary hors d'oeuvre are also referred to as 'table hors d'oeuvre'. Passed hors d'oeuvre are also referred to as 'butler-style' or 'butlered' hors d'oeuvre." I hope we're not paying him to write this drivel.

m.bell@independent.co.uk

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