Pandora: Lembit hopes to get lucky in new decade

What with this being the final
Pandora of the decade, readers can rest assured we've well and truly pushed the boat out.

Having resolved to settle for nothing less than a Noughties icon today, you can imagine my delight when column favourite Lembit Opik kindly agreed to break his recent vow of media silence to share his thoughts on the years ahead.

"I suppose what I'm really hoping for is a bit more luck," declares the colourful Lib Dem backbencher and former Cheeky Girl companion, before profoundly adding: "If you put as much money into the great fruit machine of life that I have, you've got to win sometime, surely?"

When it comes to his hopes for the coming decade, the MP is more characteristically upbeat: "By this time in 2019 I would still hope to be MP for Montgomeryshire, be a husband with a perfect family and be preparing to sell the film rights of my life story to Hollywood."

Opik, who is known to have been on strained terms with his party leader Nick Clegg in the past, now assures me relations have warmed in recent months. "My improved relationship with Nick Clegg is one of the sunnier stories of 2009," he declares.

Indeed, the politician, also a trained pilot, is keen to offer his services come election time. "I would be proud to fly my leader," he enthusiastically states.

"It would be a goodwill gesture rather than a suicide pact."

Gummer's tastiest morsel

As former Environment Secretary John Gummer prepares to bid farewell to the House of Commons, misty-eyed colleagues have been recalling what will surely be remembered as his finest hour. Back in 1990, when New Labour spin doctors were still in short trousers, and with the country gripped in mad cow mania, Gummer for one wasn't ready to lie down. Keen to enforce calm across the nation, he insisted on feeding a beef burger to his four-year-old daughter Cordelia in front of the cameras. We surely won't see his like again.

Sir Paul has a fab eye for detail

News that Sir Paul McCartney has been taking issue with the team behind the latest biopic on John Lennon should perhaps come as little surprise.

Having personally intervened to ensure a more favourable representation of Lennon's Aunt Mimi in the newly released Nowhere Boy, he's still said to have been unhappy with other aspects of the film. While director Sam Taylor-Wood might not be getting an invite to the Mull of Kintrye any time soon, it's worth pointing out that young Macca has long been a stickler for historical detail. Following the release of Backbeat, charting The Beatles' early adventures in Hamburg, he was miffed to be the only member not correctly portrayed in a leather jacket.

Balls up at the bookmakers

Whenever talk turns to a future Labour leadership election, Ed Balls's name is a familiar sight on the cast list of would-be contenders. Despite being the modest type I'm sure he is – deep down – Gordon Brown's long-serving henchman might be a trifle sensitive to learn that Ladbrokes, no less, are now quoting him at a whopping 20-1 to land the top job. While I'd like to suggest the news will hastily provoke a stampede in the direction of your local bookies, I fear this would only be misinterpreted as cheap sarcasm on my part.

Rage man wins by his whiskers

Just when it seemed 2009 couldn't get any better for veteran rockers Rage Against The Machine, I bring news of a fresh accolade heading their way. Having already denied Simon Cowell the Christmas No 1, frontman Zack de la Rocha, has now been unveiled as the winner of the prestigious Beard of the Year gong for 2009. Should you still harbour any doubts about the level of competition for this often overlooked honour, I'm duty-bound to add that Sting came, what I'm sure for him was a disappointing third.

pandora@independent.co.uk

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before