Paddick hopes to Furnish campaign with celebrities

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The Independent Online

Every political campaign needs its celebrity supporter. I hear of a possible boost for the London mayoral ambitions of Brian Paddick, until recently Britain's most senior gay police officer.

Paddick resigned from the Met five months ago and will likely be confirmed as the Liberal Democrat candidate to face Ken Livingstone (Lab), Boris Johnson (Cons) and Sian Berry (Green) at London's ballot boxes in May 2008.

The word at the Lib Dems' Cowley Street headquarters is that one David Furnish – the film producing husband of Sir Elton John – will help Paddick to raise much-needed dough for the campaign trail.

The party's fundraising staff say they are "confident that Furnish will be of assistance".

Paddick, 49, attended Sir Elton and David's big gay wedding in Windsor in 2005 with his long-term partner. The former deputy assistant commissioner has also fundraised for Sir Elton's Aids Foundation.

Furnish is not obscenely rich but he and Sir Elton's showbiz contacts come together at the annual White Tie and Tiara Ball, which this year raised £6m to fight Aids. No wonder that Lib Dems get a bit dribbly about unleashing a little of that firepower in what could otherwise be a miserable fight.

Of the candidates, Paddick is the only one with serious credentials on crime, although he remains divisive over his "softly softly" approach on cannabis.

If Furnish organises a fundraising party, I'll be the one dancing at the front with the pink feather boa.

Mike and Zara's new Collection pays out

No thanks to a broken leg in April, the England rugby centre Mike Tindall won't get the opportunity to collect a second World Cup final medal, be it gold or silver, on Saturday evening.

Still, he can take a little pleasure from his success in another sport.

As revealed by Pandora last month, Tindall and his royal equestrienne squeeze, Zara Phillips, have continued their tortoise-like approach to the altar and bought a share in a racehorse called Collection, which is part of the Highclere Thoroughbred Racing operation.

Making its second start at Newcastle yesterday, the horse cantered comfortably first past the winning post.

It is not known whether Phillips rang her racing-mad granny to tell her to back it, though I doubt there would have been much in it for Liz anyway.

Collection ran with pretty mingy odds of 4-9.

No getting shirty for Gordon

It is, arguably, rugby's most iconic image: the former South African president Nelson Mandela, celebrating his team's 1995 World Cup victory in a green Springboks national shirt.

Sad news, though, for female English fans of the oval game. No 10 Downing Street confirmed yesterday that our own esteemed leader will not wear a replica skintight white Lycra jersey as he watches this weekend's final from the stands at Stade de France, Paris.

The official reasoning is not that Gordon Brown is Scottish, nor that he would look like Jimmy Five Bellies in the gut-busting garment, but that because he is sitting with President Nicolas Sarkozy and on prime ministerial business, a rugger top would be "inappropriate".

In the words of Ed Balls, Gordon's best mate: "I would advise him not to!"

Jocular tales

The Sun's columnist Kelvin MacKenzie may yet meet rozzers north of Hadrian's Wall, following complaints that he is anti-Scottish. (He has accused the Jocks of lacking entrepreneurial skill: "They enjoy spending [money]. They do not enjoy creating it.")

One newspaper got into the spirit of things, emblazoning across its front page: "Kelvin MacKenzie's Brain Is Missing". The venerable organ? The Scottish edition of The Sun.

* The end of cynicism. Spotted in London's Victoria Underground station: John Prescott helping a young blind woman along a platform to find the right train. Prezza gruffly shifted obstructive commuters and, like Batman, never told her who he was.

Salford, here we come

The former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr has moved from Portland, Oregon, back to Manchester to become a music teacher. Pandora noted recently that the Creation Records founder Alan McGee, best known for discovering Oasis, had agreed to teach a music degree course at the University of Gloucestershire.

Today, Marr, 43, a member of the American indie band Modest Mouse, will be similarly inducted into a life of maraca-dodging and collecting xylophones (only joking) at the University of Salford, where he has been appointed a professor of music.

"Yes, he will be giving lectures there," says a spokesman for Marr, who was born in nearby Ardwick. "He is really very excited about it."