Pandora: Finger-pointing as BNP squares up to the GLA
Wednesday 22 July 2009
Disappointing news, now, for those readers only too delighted at the thought of a BNP member in the dock: you might just have to wait a little longer.
Richard Barnbrook – one of the party's Greater London Authority members, last seen trying to smuggle Nick Griffin into the Queen's Garden Party – was due to face the Authority's standards committee yesterday, over charges that he knowingly misrepresented local crime.
At the 11th hour, however, the whole affair was put on hold – leaving both parties pointing the finger of blame at their opponent.
Curiously, the GLA has said that it opted to postpone the hearing because Barnbrook, below, was suffering from a mysterious "stress-related illness".
The BNP, however, appears to disagree. "I think there's some misreporting going on," retorted a spokesman. "It was postponed because the GLA are trying to use a procedure that doesn't hold up. I'm not going to tell you what as it might prejudice the case. Richard's stress-related illness is personal – but I think we can all guess what's caused it."
Holiday blues hit Westminster
The prospect of 12 weeks' vacation did little to raise spirits in Westminster yesterday, with the MPs doing their best to maintain the gloom, with talk of summer resignations and the lurking demon of expenses.
"It's not a summer holiday, it's a recess," observed the usually chipper Tom Harris. Meanwhile, one brave soul – the Lib Dem's David Laws – occupied himself by campaigning for a shorter break. "It's absolutely absurd," he told reporters. We're inclined to agree.
Bianca finds a new cause
Gordon Brown may be off the hook for a few weeks, but it's another story for his brother, Andrew. Activist and professional glamour-puss Bianca Jagger tells me she was enraged to discover he is a spokesman for the energy suppliers EDF, and is to make a point of campaigning on the issue in future.
"I discovered it recently through my research," exclaims an indignant Jagger. "It is extremely dangerous. It's concerning for people like me who feel that we need to move from a fossil-fuel economy to a renewable-energy economy. We need a Copernican revolution!"
Banksy copycat strikes again
Joan Collins has already fallen victim to one, as have local authorities country-wide, and now: the national press. Over the weekend, The Guardian published what they thought to be an interview with Banksy, the publicity-shy graffiti artist, who held forth on such riveting subjects as Rolf Harris, the Stig and his hopes of painting a "giant comedy cock" – none of which, as it turns out, has any foundation in reality. "We apologise for any offence caused," confirmed the paper. Ah well, we hear the fakes still fetch a price on eBay.
Do I Have to Say the Words?
What's eating Bryan Adams? The be-denimed crooner made an appearance at London's Saatchi Gallery last night for the launch of his Hear the World exhibition, which aims to raise awareness of hearing and hearing loss. His appearance was not, however, without caveats. Before the first glass of champagne was poured, invited members of the press were issued with a stern warning not, under any circumstances, to bother the great man himself. Touchy!
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