Batman returns with a subversive new outfit

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The Independent Online

* Batman is back! Six months after he decided to hang up his superhero outfit, Matt O'Connor is making a noisy return to the political arena.

The headline-prone founder of Fathers4Justice is about to launch the second pressure group of his career, in protest at the Government's plans to introduce ID cards.

O'Connor's new organisation is still in its formative stages, but Pandora gathers that it will be launched in September, under the name "Agents for Change".

Members are planning to "hijack" a series of live TV programmes, and other televised events, carrying placards attacking the Labour Party.

"It breaks my heart to say it because they are the party I was brought up on, but Labour have become the most totalitarian, authoritarian government in history," O'Connor, above, tells me. "They are threatening my liberty and the liberty of my children. The current political system means that minorities don't have a voice. That's why we will do what we have to do.

"We will use guerrilla tactics: hoaxing and subversion. We want to take demonstrations up to the next level."

O'Connor resigned from Fathers4Justice at Christmas, amid reports that the organisation was implicated in a plot to kidnap Tony Blair's son, Leo.

He has since kept a (comparatively) low profile, and is writing his memoirs. Earlier this year, the production company Harbour Pictures bought film rights to his life story.

* The literary career of Kate Moss can't be consigned to the dustbin of history quite yet.

Earlier this month, the skinny supermodel was said to have withdrawn from a £1m autobiography deal with Virgin Books, after managing to resurrect her modelling career.

However, Virgin has now issued a statement saying that the project has merely been put on hold.

"The book is not cancelled," it reads, "but it is not happening in the very near future. It will be such an exciting book when it comes out, whether that is next year, or the year after."

Either way, Moss is wise to keep her literary options open.

Last week, her on-off boyfriend Pete Doherty announced that he would publish a memoir of their time together. It will be "funny, dark and very readable".

* Lynda Bellingham has come a long way since, as Oxo Mum, she became the wholesome "face" of British family values.

Later this year, the splendidly preserved actress will appear at the Royal Court, in a play called Sugar Mummies. Described in a press release as a "provocative study of female sex tourism", it depicts four middle-aged women who visit Jamaica with a view to sampling local male prostitutes.

"Even by the Royal Court's standards, it's near the knuckle," I'm told. "Children won't be encouraged to attend, on account of both the subject matter, and several explicit nude scenes."

Bellingham is yet to discover if she'll be required to disrobe. "She won't mind, though," adds my source. "Lynda is a real trouper."

* John Reid suffered the indignity of being "doorstepped" by camera crews at his Westminster home early yesterday.

Given the circumstances (Reid had just been monstered by Charles Clarke) you'd expect his bodyguards to have kept a stiff upper lip.

Quite the reverse was true, though. "The coppers on duty were giggling like schoolgirls, but none of the hacks could work out why," I'm told.

Then Keith Simpson, a Tory MP, emerged from his home in the same street. "I want to do my bit for Charles Clarke by saying that if you're looking for John Reid, you've got the wrong house," he chortled.

The Home Secretary was therefore required to face the music. "He didn't look amused," adds a witness.

* Sir Mark Thatcher politely declined his invitation to the launch of The Wonga Coup, a book about recent events in Equatorial Guinea.

The author, Adam Roberts, reckons the colourful Baronet - who was arrested in 2004, after an alleged coup in the African state - attended in spirit, though.

"I actually interviewed Mark during my research for the book," he told me. "He was very helpful, but did say that I'd have to be careful about what ended up in the book.

"If not, he joked that I'd probably have to find a new dental surgeon, and might end up walking around on stumps. He actually started calling me by the nickname 'Mr Stumpy'." What a card!

pandora@independent.co.uk

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