Pandora: Experience a bonus, as Mayor seeks aide

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The Independent Online

The City may be shedding jobs at the rate of knots, but the gravy train at Mansion House shows little sign of slowing any time soon. The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Ian Luder, is hunting for a new private secretary, which according to an advert in the Sunday Times offers a salary of £106,630 a year. On the face of it, it’s a surprisingly substantial figure, especially given that the Lord Mayor’s jurisdiction extends only to the single square mile that is the City of London. To put it in perspective, Boris Johnson earns £124,364 for his job as Mayor of London, while Johnson’s deputy, Richard Barnes, gets just £92,594.

When asked about the salary, a spokesman for the Lord Mayor insisted that the sum was a fair reflection of the job’s requirements.

“The Lord Mayor is a major figure with global responsibilities,” the spokesman told me. “He spends at least three months of every year abroad, and his private secretary has to run the whole operation.”

“He is more of a chief-of-staff than anything,” he added.

“He oversees seven teams of 38 people – and he has to take care of speeches and the general running for all those people. It’s an 80-hour job and it needs to be done by someone with a strong track record.”

Viewers doubt it’s time for Jade

Andrew Lloyd Webber's attempts to help the UK avoid another abject humiliation at the Eurovision song contest received nil points from viewers of BBC1’s Your Country Needs You. Moments after Jade Ewen was chosen to sing ALW’s “It’s My Time” at this year’s contest, the BBC’s website was flooded with comments from disappointed viewers. “Another year, another losing act,” wrote one. A more optimistic wag hazarded: “Maybe songs we think are bad seem much better to people in eastern Europe

Stella takes the floor in praise of promiscuity

Stella Vine, the portrait artist “discovered” by Charles Saatchi, is to address the Oxford Union in three weeks’ time. Vine, pictured, will argue that: “This house believes promiscuity is a virtue, not a vice.” If nothing else, it should make fascinating theatre since Vine has a colourful history.

Before benefiting from Saatchi’s patronage, she made ends meet by working as a lap-dancer.

Rory’s youthful touch

Golfing wunderkind Rory McIlroy won his first professional competition over theweekend, finishing first in the Dubai Desert Classic at just 19 years of age.

To put the baby-faced star’s age into some sort of context, when McIlroy travelled to Loch Lomond for last year's Scottish Open, the earliest his girlfriend could leave Ireland to join him was on the Friday night.

“Couldn’t she get on one of the morning flights out of Dublin?” asked his larger-than-life manager Andrew “Chubby” Chandler.

“Not really,” replied McIlroy. “She doesn’t get out of school until four.”

Ganging up on ‘Slumdog

Danny Boyle's route to the Oscars continues to be a rocky one. Indian director Priyadarshan is the latest Bollywood heavyweight to weigh in with an opinion on Slumdog Millionaire, and it isn’t favourable.

He’s told news agencies that he thought the film a “mediocre” version of a local one. It has been suggested that Boyle is the victim of a smear campaign after negative stories surfaced, including allegations the film’s child stars had been mistreated