Pandora: Nick Clegg's Dutch ado

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The Independent Online

Only a cynic, surely, would suggest that Nick Clegg's public school background and upper-middle-class upbringing chip away at his credentials to be the British Obama.

There are certainly no such meanies at RTL Nederland.

The Dutch broadcaster is, we are told, overjoyed at the Liberal Democrat leader's rise to prominence (his mother does, after all, hail from the Netherlands) and has dispatched an entire television crew to follow his every move in the last week of the campaign.

"Everyone is amazed that such a high-profile political figure not only speaks Dutch but speaks it fluently," gushed the RTL correspondent Vanessa Lamsvelt when Pandora asked what all the fuss was about. Clegg, for his part, appears equally bemused: "So that's why my Dutch cousins keep sending me emails," he remarks. Well, no wonder.

Cleggmania reaches Hollywood

Speaking of the Prodigal One, it's not just the Dutch taking an interest. Nick Clegg was the hot, if unlikely, topic of conversation at the premiere of Jennifer Lopez's romcom The Back-Up Plan. Pandora overheard the film's (American) director, Alan Poul discussing Clegg's qualities. "I've been devouring as much as I can about Clegg," he said. "It goes back to our first debates with Kennedy and Nixon. It's fascinating."

Pandora has high hopes for Huey Morgan's literary debut. The Fun Loving Criminals frontman has yet to set a release date for his forthcoming crime novel, but it already sounds ready-made for Channel 4's book club. "I'd say its like Hemingway on crack," reflects Morgan, modestly, of the tome. Ruth Rendell, be warned.

Class warfare in Pendle, Lancashire, where the Labour candidate Gordon Prentice shows voters "the photo the Conservatives don't want you to see". It is, in fact, the notorious picture of David Cameron et al in their Bullingdon Club days. Unfortunately for Prentice, it's also a copyright violation: the image is owned by an Oxford company - a fact that famously prevented Newsnight from using it. Doing so necessitates a hefty fee. Says Prentice: "I am a man of very modest means and wouldn't be able to pay." Uh-oh.

No political Button-holing, please

Jenson Button will not become the new Gillian Duffy, y'hear? The racing driver was due to attend a celebratory lunch in Frome next week to mark his recent Formula One victory in Shanghai but has, it appears, pulled out because too many wannabe MPs wanted to meet him.

The Frome Standard reports: "Several of the parties had wanted to invite their candidate to the lunch ... it was decided that due to the election it was better to cancel." Too bad.

pandora@independent.co.uk

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