Pandora: Hain delayed on long walk to publication

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The Independent Online

Pandora very much hopes that we won't have to wait too long for Peter Hain's promised book.

The well-sunned Welsh Secretary – who quit his job as Work and Pensions Secretary last year after failing to declare donations to his Labour deputy leadership campaign – set about using his free time to write a biography of Nelson Mandela, following an £8,000 advance from the Octopus Publishing Group.

At the time, Hain told Pandora, he hoped to produce a work that was both "accessible to sixth formers" and "something really readable". Release was slated for mid-2009.

Now, though, with Hain once again facing a packed Cabinet schedule, word reaches us that things may take slightly longer.

"We don't know when it is going to be ready," explains a spokesperson for Octopus. "Sometimes things happen; works get held up. We will still be releasing it but we can't guarantee it will be this year."

Either way, Pandora is assured that any tardiness will not be down to a lack of effort on Hain's part. "He's got a manuscript, it's just stuck at the editing and proofing stage," we're told.

Dizzee have the X Factor?

Simon Cowell's family-friendly boy band JLS claim to have spent an evening discussing future prospects with east London "grime" artist Dizzee Rascal. "We've never worked with a rapper, you know. We'd like to," mused one of the boys (Ortise, apparently: second-tallest) at Monday's Transformers premiere.

"We spoke to him the other night. That's what's great about the British music scene. It's not unheard of to cross genres of music. We saw Kasabian too and they said they'd very much like to collaborate."

A few metres down the red carpet, Dizzee was less sure: "They said that? They're nice guys and everything, but I don't know about that."

Dhanda goes for two little ducks

Oddball Labour MP Parmjit Dhanda, currently lagging behind in the race to become Speaker, has added another policy to his platform (as it were). He's lent his support to the "I'm backing Bingo" campaign, imploring colleagues by email to sign an Early Day Motion in support.

Naturally, the potential for wordplay is excellent. Who knows? Perhaps Dhanda will become Speaker of a full House. (Sorry.)

Osborne caught out at cricket

Ah, the perils of fame. George Osborne felt the sharp end on Monday, while watching England's Twenty20 cricket defeat. The shadow Chancellor spent much of the match being heckled by those around him, including a particularly persistent soul keen to discover the Tories' policy on the Duckworth-Lewis method (this means little to Pandora). More amusing still was the observant fellow who later accosted Osborne. "I recognise you!" he declared. "Aren't you on Sky Sports?"