Pandora: Protesters take up pole position
Wednesday 11 June 2008
Following Brian Haw's unkempt occupation of Parliament Square, news of an upcoming protest that sounds like it might be a little easier on the eye.
Next Wednesday, the human rights group Object will be erecting a strip club pole in the square as part of a protest against pole-dancing clubs, which it claims are licensed far too leniently.
"We're hoping a few MPs might come along for lunch in the café we are setting up," says a spokesman for Object. "Hopefully, we can convince them to do something about the ridiculous licensing laws these clubs have. But the pole is just meant to be symbolic. We are not providing any dancers for them, that would go against what we're protesting against."
Why the rush? Confusion over Miliband's dash home
The decision by David Miliband to cut short his trip to Israel certainly had Westminster in a flap yesterday. On Monday evening, it was reported that the Foreign Secretary had been ordered to return to London so he could attend the crunch vote on security. "There is a vote in which all members of the Government are expected to participate," he told reporters in the West Bank city of Nablus.
However, it wasn't quite clear why Miliband was ordered to be back by yesterday morning. The vote on extending the period of detention to 42 days is not until tonight, meaning he would have been quite capable of attending yesterday's scheduled meetings in Jersualem with both the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, and the Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni.
Aside from the obvious possibility of Gordon Brown being uncomfortable about his young charge hot-footing it around the world stage, while he was at home facing a possible Commons defeat, another rumour circulating the Westminster lobby last night was that Brown was unhappy that Miliband was being closely accompanied on the trip by the fiery Daily Mail political editor, Ben Brogan.
The press spokesman at the Foreign Office was not sure about the reasons for Miliband's rush home, only that they concerned the detention Bill.
"I think he had some parliamentary business to attend to today and they had some preliminary meetings about 42 days," he said. I don't have the details but it was about 42 days."
Borrell's film debut still some way off
I do hope Johnny Borrell's much-feted foray into acting isn't over before it has even begun.
In April, it was announced the Razorlight singer had bagged a part in The Meat Trade, a gruesome-sounding crime thriller written by gritty novelist Irvine Welsh.
However, the film, which is also rumoured to be starring Robert Carlyle and Samantha Morton, is still waiting for the green light.
"It's still not certain yet," Borrell told me at a recent party. "We'll just have to wait and see. But I'm really hoping that it does happen because I've read the script and it's brilliant – I get offers to act all the time but this is the first one I've ever wanted to do."
If it does happen, he will play a musician, which, presumably, didn't require a huge leap of imagination from the casting director.
"I can't really remember who asked me to do it. I was in a pub and this bloke approached me about it," he added hazily.
Boris excites Jacqueline
Of all the London entrepreneurs currently celebrating Boris's annexing of Ken Livingstone from City Hall, few can be happier than the Ann Summers chief executive Jacqueline Gold, right.
Last year, Gold and Ken fell out in spectacular style after the then mayor banned her from advertising the high street sex retailer's rampant rabbit vibrator on the Tube, even though the ad had been OK'd by the Advertising Standards Authority.
But when the company launches their next campaign, she's confident his blond successor, right, won't be quite so twitchy.
"I'm expecting Boris to be more liberal," she tells me. "Ken was just being stuffy about the whole thing. I'm sure Boris will be receptive, he certainly seems more open minded."
Green fingers get motoring
Radio Five Live's excitable football commentator Alan Green is fondly known to his listeners as the station's in-house motormouth. Apt, then, that he should prove he knows his way round a car engine.
Following the Netherlands' galloping 3-0 thrashing of Italy on Monday evening, Green and his fellow commentator, the former Liverpool player Jan Molby, were returning to their hotel in Bern when their car broke down.
"We had a minor problem with the gear box," Molby told listeners yesterday morning. "Alan Green saved the day, by brute force. He managed to get the car in gear and then [Five Live journalist] Alastair Yeomans drove back in fifth gear. It was some journey."
What a heroic gesture. I can't believe you would ever see Green's bonnie colleague Nicky Campbell getting his hands so dirty.
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