Pandora: No Blond jokes as Cameroons stay away

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The Independent Online

Cold, anyone? One couldn't blame Phillip Blond for feeling the chill. When policy-man and one-time NBF of David Cameron (credited for providing his "mood music"), launched his think-tank, ResPublica last November, he managed to draw none other than the Tory leader himself to cut the silk ribbon. Indeed, there was a time when Blond appeared inseparable from the party's inner circle.

It appears, however, that times have changed. At Monday night's launch of his new book, Red Tory, the most impressive representation of the party faithful was the barely blushing David Davis. Cameron et al were presumably too busy watching the chancellors' debate – and decided that popping along for a warm-up drink was off the cards. "Red Toryism was a good idea for Cameron to associate himself with when he was trying to rebrand the party," we're told. "But some of the ideas are a little too anti-markets."

Blond appears sanguine about his old friend's conspicuous absence. "We wanted a broader constituency, anyway," he says. "David has been very supportive twice and we still had 250 guests so it went very well. I still haven't had the chance to watch the debates."

The snake was fake, says Brand

News that Russell Brand sported – gasp! – snakeskin to the Vanity Fair Oscars after-party was the source of considerable consternation among activists at animal rights group Peta.

Happily, after more than a month spent trying to track down the libidinous comedian (and renowned vegetarian), the mood has shifted somewhat. "We spoke to him and he told us they were fake," we're told. "He said: 'I also won Sexiest Smoker this week in spite of not smoking." Off the hook, then.

From William to Wagdom

Fresh from painting the first double portrait of Princes William and Harry for the National Portrait Gallery, Nicky Phillips, has her eye on a new project: a life-size sculpture of a football WAG to be erected in Picton Castle, her family's 13th-century home.

"I'm working on it with my mother," explains the artist, unexpectedly. "We wanted a new work of art for the garden." The statue will come complete with shift dress, high heels, large sunglasses and perfect manicure. Wonder if the Windsors will commission a copy?

A post-election strategy for Labour

Should any of Gordon Brown's strategy team find themselves at a loose end after the election, they could do worse than follow in the footsteps of Benjamin Wegg-Prosser, formerly Tony Blair's director of strategic communications, who appears to be trying his hand at – amongst other things – travel writing. Wegg-Prosser can be found listing his 25 reasons to go to Moscow in the May issue of Condé Nast Traveller. It's got to beat the Brown bunker.

Amy takes her high barnet home

Alas, the high barnet of High Barnet is to be no longer.

Residents of the leafy north London suburb, and adopted home of Amy Winehouse, may well breathe a sigh of relief over news that their, ahem, sociable neighbour is soon to return to her native Camden, though the prospect does not bode well for her new set of neighbours.

We're told that Winehouse has been eyeing up one home in particular, that of the late Gillian Weir, historian and mother of the actress Arabella. Look out!