Now I'm a Gypsy, I can't be a racist, says Tory MP
Tuesday 04 October 2005
David Davies, the MP for Monmouth, intends to alter the "ethnic group" to which he officially belongs, following criticism from the Commission for Racial Equality about his views on travellers.
The move is intended to deflect accusations of racism and highlight the fact that - according to Davies, at least - CRE guidelines allow him to claim membership of whatever community he wants.
"If I've registered as a traveller, I can say what I think without fear," he explains. "People won't be able to call me a racist. I travel quite a lot more than most of these people, between Monmouth and Westminster and Hungary, where my wife's from."
"There's also an important point to be made here: the rules on self-definition are very stupid and this will also draw attention to that."
Davies's move comes a month after he applied for a lottery grant to make a film on the "ancient customs of the settled community", having learned that the Heritage Lottery Fund had given Hampshire Council £50,000 to make a programme about travellers.
That saw him reported to the Standards Committee of the Welsh Assembly, where he is also a member. Goodness knows what'll happen this time.
* Ivan Massow's political career has never been short on controversy, and now he's ruffling feathers in the world of business, too. The gay entrepreneur, who publicly quit both Labour and the Tories, is in a delightfully petty dispute with the drinks company, Innocent.
At issue is the packaging of his latest product, a brand of children's shampoo called Halos and Horns. Its bears a striking resemblance to the logo used by Innocent.
"Ivan's office had a shirty phone call from Richard Reed, the founder of Innocent, threatening legal action," I'm told. "He replied that if they did sue, then the whole thing would end up on Channel Four, who are making a documentary about his company. The issue still hasn't been resolved."
Massow said yesterday: "We have been in touch to point out that there's no trademark issue, since you aren't meant to drink our shampoo."
Innocent insists: "if you look at their halo logo there is an obvious similarity."
* Those who watched Sky One's footage of Kate Moss hoofing cocaine - broadcast last night - were not shown footage of the "horseplay" that preceded it.
During the now-infamous evening, at a West London studio where boyfriend Pete Doherty was recording a new album, I gather that the skinny beauty, right, spilled her drink across the mixing desk.
"Chaos ensued, since it could quite easily have ruined several thousand pounds worth of equipment," says one who witnessed proceedings.
"Kate wasn't in the least bit upset, though. She just shouted out: 'What a bloody stupid design. What's the point of it being designed like that, if you can't even put your drink on it?' "
You can take a girl out of Croydon...
* Ian Hislop has often suffered the indignity of being compared to a Tellytubby, so it's ironic to learn that he's about to cast himself as the Walt Disney de nos jours.
The diminutive Private Eye editor is in the early stages of making a satirical cartoon based on the James Bond films. He made this intriguing announcement whilst discussing animated films at the recent Wallace and Gromit premiere.
"I can't say much about the project, except that it's going to be an animation and about Bond," he said. "It's certainly one to watch out for in the future, though."
Asked if the great man himself will play 007, Hislop's office said yesterday: "we've heard a bit about this, but as it's nothing to do with Private Eye, I'm afraid we don't know any details."
* If you thought Gordon Ramsay showed signs of mellowing in middle age, think again. The potty-mouthed chef uses next month's GQ to renew hostilities with some longstanding so-called rivals.
Of Anton Mosimann, Ramsay notes: "He wears a shirt and bow tie under his chef's jacket, for fuck's sake. I was disappointed when I met him, such an affected Swiss load of old nonsense."
Elsewhere in the interview, Ainsley Harriott is nicknamed "Ready Steady Twat," Antony Worrall Thompson is "a squashed Bee Gee," and Jean Christophe Novelli and Gary Rhodes are "a pair of dicks".
As for the most obnoxious celebrity Ramsay's ever encountered: "Joan Collins. She came to Claridge's the other day and asked if I was cooking that night. When told that I was, she immediately cancelled her table." Diva!
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