For the record: Galloway lashes out at local paper

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Not for the first time, and possibly not the last, George Galloway finds himself in dispute over his treatment at the hands of the press.

His latest bout with our fourth estate involves his local newspaper, the Tower Hamlets Recorder, which last week took the bold decision to axe Galloway's lively weekly column.

In a letter sent to the Respect MP, the paper's editor explained that the Recorder was unable to continue running the column, as it has for the past 18 months, as his combustious views would require some response from "those who, by implication, were being criticised".

Sensing yet another New Labour conspiracy, Galloway's posse immediately issued an angry riposte on Respect's website.

"The Recorder has clearly come under pressure from New Labour and, no doubt, its owners that it was providing a platform for George's views which are anathema to them," it reads.

"This is one more example of the suppression of freedom of speech by the owners and controllers of the press, the same people who utter such cant and hypocrisy about freedom of speech when it comes to insulting Muslims and their religion."

Galloway's fractious relationship with the press is nothing new. He happily lets it be known that his numerous successes in the libel courts, including a £250,000 pay out by Robert Maxwell's Mirror in 1992, have kept him in fine tailoring for years.

Scott is new pin-up for green welly brigade

To the delight of countryside campaigners everywhere, former Sky News autocutie Selina Scott is firmly establishing herself as the proud pin-up for the impassioned green welly brigade.

In a manner of which Swampy would be proud, Scott, left, has become the spokesman in a fierce local battle over an area of woodland near her Yorkshire home where a local landowner is threatening to uproot more than 500 trees.

"We have lost far too much over the past 20 to 30 years in this country," she says.

"This ancient woodland site is simply the kind of landscape feature we have so readily given up in the past.

"That's why it's important it is saved now. Not for us but for future generations."

It's a far cry from her days on the BBC Breakfast sofa that she used to share with randy co-presenter Frank Bough. These days, Scott prefers to live quietly on a 200-acre farm where she creates socks made from her pack of Angora goats.

Can Borat be funny off the cuff?

Borat star Sacha Baron Cohen stands accused of not playing "fair dinkum" with the Australian press corps.

Cohen is due to arrive in Australia next month to promote the new movie featuring his anti-Semitic Kazakhstani creation.

So far, he's taken to doing promotional duties in character, but according to the Sydney Morning Herald, media wishing to attend his press conference in Sydney on 13 November have been ordered to "submit a list of questions for approval" beforehand.

Some reckon it's a fairly rum deal that someone who's made a career out of the ambush interview is now demanding draconian measures not to get ambushed himself.

Quips one Aussie hack: "Maybe Borat isn't as funny off the cuff as he is on camera."

Macca's ordeal

Sir Paul McCartney took some time away from his unpleasant divorce battle on Thursday evening to make a surprise appearance at the National Gallery.

Art-loving Macca pitched up with a male chum for the opening party of the gallery's new National Café.

"He seemed all right but he didn't stop for a for a drink or anything," I'm told. "I think he really just wanted to check out the Velazquez exhibition that's going on."

McCartney apparently spent much of his time looking at a painting called Christ after the Flagellation that shows Christ looking totally deflated after his torturous ordeal.

Wands at dawn in fantasy writers' feud

Ding Ding! Do I hear the sound of another literary spat in the offing?

J K Rowling finds herself facing criticism from fellow children's fantasy author Amanda Craig.

Craig, who is currently working on her own trilogy of children's books, claims that more children are abandoning the Harry Potter novels in favour of slighter reads, and has described the aggressive marketing of the books to adults as "a poisoned chalice".

"I know many children who seem to think [the Harry Potter books] are not for them any more but for adults," she said at a recent literary talk. "The books have got bigger and bigger - they are huge bricks now."

J K Rowling has yet to reply to the charges publicly. But then with a fortune of nearly £600m and book sales over the 300 million mark, she may not feel the need to bother.