Pandora: Paws for thought
Friday 21 March 2008
A report this week claimed that owning a cat "cuts the risk of stroke by a third". Take that or leave it – perhaps the latter – but a feline companion will make you more likely to sneeze, hate plastic trays and, apparently, vote for the Liberal Democrats.
That venerable weekly organ the Lib Dem News carries an article headlined "Clegg claws his way to victory". A psephologist's research shows their leader is "the clear favourite among UK cat owners", above the Prime Minister and David Cameron. The opinion of the cats does not appear to have been solicited. Clegg came second among owners of dogs, rabbits and guinea pigs – guinea pig carers have a special and deep hatred of Gordon Brown – and last among hamster owners. Miaow.
Slaughter's first-class hypocrisy on post offices
Could that shuffling noise be the sound of Andrew Slaughter MP moonwalking back from his constituency pledge to save post offices? The acrobatic member for Ealing, Acton and Shepherd's Bush performed a stunning and hazardous flip on Wednesday night that would have been the pride of the trapezist Alfredo Codona.
At 7.15pm, like scores of other Labour parliamentary colleagues mouthing off locally about stopping post office closures, Slaughter voted with the Government to continue the programme of 2,500 closures. Labour's majority was reduced to just 20.
But never let the details get in the way of the bigger picture. At 7.45pm, Slaughter (known to opponents as Andrew S Laughter) found himself addressing an open meeting in Hammersmith Town Hall on the subject.
Over to his political opponent Greg Hands, the MP for Hammersmith and Fulham, for a description of the fastest U-turn in the Westminster village: "He appeared with me and stood there and decried the local post office closures and even said he will back Ken Livingstone's judicial review! He came out with a mealy mouthed line like he saw the need to close some post offices but disagreed with the choice of closures locally, which got a massive boo.
"Even in these times reeking of hypocrisy, it is surely one of the swiftest volte-faces ever!"
Slaughter, 47, declined to call yesterday to explain all. Perhaps one of his blue-rinsed constituents could solicit his opinion with the help of a solid handbagging?
Brody joins battle of the inn crowd
Foppish trouper Adrien Brody – the ivory tinkler in Roman Polanski's The Pianist – has joined a vibrant mob that includes Ronnie Wood, Amy Winehouse, George Galloway and Kate Moss to declare celebrity jihad on Tower Hamlets council in London's East End.
They support the landlady of Stepney's George Tavern, Pauline Forster, in her attempt to stop developers building flats next door, which would block the pub's unusual 360-degree light and damage its lucrative sideline as a location for photo shoots.
Brody, 34, has written a letter from Hollywood saying: "I experienced The George in the fall of 2007 for a Vanity Fair photo shoot. I found it to be a beautifully unique structure, but more importantly, a wonderful creative outlet for young artists. It would be a shame to take away from The George's distinct qualities."
Pork scratchings and a pint of mild, guvna?
Antony is coming, lightly down the Liffey
Antony Gormley recently derided several prominent public statues as "crap". So what of the beanstalk sculptor's proposed 48m-high iron man to stand in Dublin's River Liffey – the successor to his famous Angel of the North (20m) in Gateshead.
Some Dubliners object to the iron man, claiming it will dwarf homes in the Docklands area; that it resembles a drunk urinating; and they would become Lilliputians in their own city.
Pandora hears there has been a hold-up in the planning process – albeit perhaps only a pause to visit the bar and allow the Guinness to surge and settle. A spokeswoman is certain the statue will not be rejected in the same way as Gormley's suggested addition to Seattle's waterfront: a 12m-high ejaculating man whose metal todger would shoot an 11-second burst of sea water every five minutes ("An ironic comment on the male figure... because everyone knows the fountain is a male fantasy of permanent ejaculation").
Says the spokeswoman: "The application was placed on 13 February and it normally takes six months. However, Dublin City Council has requested some additional information so it will now be a little longer. But it is totally normal so, at some stage later this year, we expect to hear the council's decision."
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