Pandora: From spook to squatter: Shayler goes undercover
Thursday 16 July 2009
Goodness. Last time we heard from David Shayler, he was posing as the Messiah, offering "messages of love and salvation" in regular "sermons on the mount".
Things don't appear to have become any less weird since then. Pandora hears that the former MI5 whistleblower has been found squatting in a National Trust property in Surrey's aptly-named Mole Valley, along with eight other members of the so-called "Rainbow" movement.
"People don't have to pay for mortgages, tax or pay for parking tickets," explains Shayler of the move. "These are contracts the government and banks are trying to force us into.
"I know in my heart that I am Christ and I am here to save humanity.
"I am also here to show unconditional love – and that includes murders and pederasts."
It also, it would appear, includes the production of hemp on a mass scale, which, Shayler says, is crucial to his messianic mission.
"We have a plan to save the world in four months by growing it."
West isn't best for Cameron
A word of advice, now, for any Conservative MPs planning their end-of-term gifts for David Cameron: whatever you do, make sure it has nothing to do with The West Wing. Pandora hears that the party leader recently received a box set of the glossy US political drama (apparently, it is an enduring favourite among backbenchers seeking to glamorise their day jobs) – but he has left it to gather dust in his DVD cupboard. "It's the last thing I feel like watching when I get home," he explains. "When you've had politics all day, the last thing you want is to go home and watch more of it."
Blumenthal avoids Little Chef run-in
Further news of Heston Blumenthal's troubled dealings with Little Chef. The restaurant chain is to roll out Blumenthal's new menu for the first time since its inception earlier this year, and will hold a suitably star-studded party to celebrate. One guest, however, will be notable by his absence. "Heston has been invited but won't be attending," says a mole. No wonder: relations between him and Little Chef have been less than happy, with Blumenthal sidelined from the launch. "He doesn't have anything more to do with them."
On the financial fast-track
Signs of a truce between bankers and politicians. A few lucky parliamentary staffers are to be given the opportunity to train in the intricacies of the banking sector, courtesy of the Industry and Parliament Trust. We're told that the workshop will be provided in September, although quite why it's necessary in the first place we're not sure. Green shoots? Possibly.
Simon Calder looks at communities fighting back against the poachers
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