Pandora: Not just any old dispute: Dave's advertising woes
Wednesday 10 June 2009
Goodness. It appears David Cameron's relationship with his local authorities has once again come under strain (you will recall that the Tory leader ran into a spot of bother back in 2007, after erecting a 6ft high, £3,000 wind turbine on the roof of his Notting Hill home.)
Now word reaches us of another local quarrel – this time over a particularly unsightly 100ft advertising tower, erected just down the road, within the grounds of the Westway Development Trust. The construction has, apparently, enraged the Camerons and their neighbours alike by beaming electric advertising over the area 24 hours a day. Rather delightfully, the current image is the notorious Marks & Spencer "not just any only cleavage" advert, featuring model Natalie Suliman.
"Basically the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea flatly denied the request for the tower but it went through anyway after an appeal," explains one resident. "It's supposed to be a conservation area – the Camerons' street is part of the Westway Development Trust."
Joining the Camerons in their displeasure is, apparently, fellow Westway-dweller Ben Fogle. "He turned up at a meeting and asked a representative of the trust whether he cared about the impact on residents or not," says our spy. "The short answer was 'No'".
No government spin for Sir Alan
He may have signed up for a spot in the Lords, but for the time being "Suralan" will be giving Number 10's notorious spinners a miss. We're told the Apprentice star (now "Enterprise Tsar") is to continue dealing with the media through his long-term spokesman, David Fraser at Frank PR, rather than making use of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills' press office. Best of all, since Sir Alan will form part of Lord Mandelson's department, this basically means he's snubbing the King of Spin's spin. Splendid!
A step too far for most Labour rebels?
Yet another stunt from Mark McGowan (last seen tastefully recreating Jade Goody's death in an east London basement). The polarising performance artist tells me he is to burn an effigy of the Prime Minister Gordon Brown outside the Guy Hilton Gallery in Fournier Street tomorrow at 4pm. "It's a symbolic gesture, to say that's it," explains Mark. "He's like a squatter; we have to get the bailiffs to get him out. Hopefully once he sees effigies in the streets, he will know it's time to go." A tad extreme, perhaps?
I won't be a celebrity MP, says Sir Paul
Leading the disillusioned masses in their charge against Westminster's expenses-fiddling MPs is one Sir Paul McCartney.
"I didn't vote in the last election," he told Pandora at the launch of Simon Aboud's new book. "All that expenses rubbish has made me disillusioned with British politics. I didn't feel comfortable using my vote to get any of them in power. All of them seem to be up for ripping off expenses and making themselves as powerful as possible and I don't want a part of that."
Enraged though he may be, the universally adored Beatle assures us he won't be making his debut as an anti-sleaze candidate any time soon.
"I couldn't do it. If someone asked me to be a music tsar, I'd say: 'I am a tsar already, what are you talking about?'"
A political deal good enough to eat
An economising tip courtesy of Pandora, especially for MPs with an eye to saving on expenses.
We hear that our local haunt Ffionas – just down the road from the House of Commons, in London's Kensington, is offering a special, three-course "Members Menu" for the fixed price of £19 a head (receipts available on request, naturally). Apparently there's even a glass of wine thrown in for free. So frugal, even Sir Paul would be proud. Probably.
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