Pandora: Loach snubs Sarah Brown's book appeal

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The Independent Online

While her husband gets a battering in the opinion polls, to many it appears that his wife, Sarah, can do no wrong. With more than a million followers on Twitter, and a raft of celebrity admirers, the vivacious former PR professional has made an art out of compensating for what her husband lacks in charisma. Still, even her charms proved futile when it came to cracking the tough nut that is Ken Loach.

The film director, a dyed-in-the wool socialist, claims he was approached some time ago by the future prime minister's beguiling wife to contribute to a book she was compiling to raise money for charity.

The aim was to motivate young people by getting celebrities to write about what inspired them. But despite his history as a Labour Party member, Loach refused to be involved, accusing the Browns of being part of the problem they were trying to solve.

"Greenock had been a shipbuilding town, but was suffering massive unemployment," he explains to the Labour magazine Tribune. "The bright kids left and the rest just stayed there and rotted.

"I wrote back and said look, I can't help noticing where you are writing from. If your husband would invest some of our money into proper industries you would not need to pass the hat around. The idea [of politicians doing that] when they are in charge of the mess is grotesque."

Lamb & son make it back from Namibia

Bad news for Michael Palin. George Lamb's ambition to become one half of the UK's premier father-son exploring team has come to fruition. Pandora ran into the foppish TV presenter's father, Larry (aka Eastender's Archie Mitchell), who assures us that the duo's first excursion is very much a fait accompli. "We did it!" he tells us. "We went to Namibia. It was amazing. It should be out this spring – we're hoping to do four of them." Watch out!

Will 'Playgirl' beat 'Attitude' to Kirk?

Goodness! Last week we heard that Iris Robinson's well-built former lover, Kirk McCambley, was being wooed by the gay magazine Attitude to appear in a glossy photoshoot. Now, news of another lucrative offer. The American magazine Playgirl – which famously featured a scantily clad Levi Johnston, father of Sarah Palin's grandchild – has, apparently, voiced its interest, proposing a hefty appearance fee. As yet, McCambley has played it coy with his admirers – though for how long?

Eye spy Carter Ruck

MPs, beware! The Westminster phenomenon that is "Eye Spy MP" is back. The website keeps track of parliamentarians comings and goings by inviting tip-offs from readers. All are reported in gloriously mundane detail. Not everyone's amused. On hearing the news Tory bombshell Nadine Dorries tweeted: "To all MPs, the telephone number for Carter Ruck is 020 7353 5005 they are really, really helpful."

ITV in the thick of it

Animal Aid have launched their new campaign against the insect-baiting gameshow I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here with a quote from Scottish satirist Armando Iannucci describing reality TV producers as "scum-smeared zombies." Iannucci, we're told, hadn't known. "But he's fine with it!" insists a spokesman.