Pandora: Sounding out Blair

Tony Blair invaded Iraq with fabricated "evidence" and the Stop the War Coalition won't let him forget it. Next Thursday, the Middle East peace envoy is to deliver a speech at Westminster Cathedral on "Faith and Globalisation". (Fear of being labelled "a nutter" – his word – made Blair avoid talking about his religious views in office, and stick to less controversial matters like waging war in the Middle East.)

To jollify proceedings, Stop the War is organising a "wall of sound" at 6.30pm outside God's house, inviting all and sundry to appear with musical instruments to drown out Tony's talk. Confirmed attendees include two choirs and students from the Royal Academy of Music. "We're hoping for a hell of a turn-out," says a spokesman. "The phone keeps ringing."

Queen's catering for Sarko leaves fishy smell at the castle

Given the hackneyed nonchalance of the French about such matters, President Nicolas Sarkozy is unlikely to have devoted much thought to the provenance of his Filet de Barbue Beatrice (fillet of brill) starter at Wednesday night's Windsor Castle state banquet. Why, though, is Buckingham Palace so sniffy about disclosing the origin of the flatfish served to HM's 148 guests?

Brill is classified as an imperilled stock by the Marine Conservation Society and features prominently on its Fish to Avoid list. "Brill is mainly taken as by-catch in beam trawl fisheries in the North Sea," warns the society. "A considerable proportion of the catch is immature and the stock over-exploited. Avoid eating. Choose brill from other areas caught by demersal otter rather than beam trawling. Avoid eating immature brill (less than 40cm) caught by any method as small fish will not have had chance to spawn or reproduce."

So where did Liz get her brill? A Palace spokesman claims: "We don't have that information."

Although exempt from Freedom of Information legislation, the Royal Household states its policy is to "provide [non-political] information as freely as possible" and "to account openly for its use of public money".

Kippers for breakfast seems to fit the criteria for disclosure. Yet Buckingham Palace last year repeatedly stonewalled requests from this newspaper to list the fish species it purchases with public money. Enough to make one spit out one's goblet of Chassagne-Montrachet, n'est-ce pas?

Return of the green fly: Goldblum in enviro talks

Save the flies, man. Jeff Goldblum, star of the classic 1986 science fiction-horror-romance in which a man mutates into an insect, is in talks with leading environmental lawyers about possible joint projects.

The lofty actor, 55, currently in London to perform in Kevin Spacey's Speed the Plow at the Old Vic, has met the chief executive of ClientEarth, a non-profit group of lawyers seeking "Justice for the Planet" – fighting coal power stations, airport expansions and the like.

The outfit's trustees include Stephen Hockman QC, proponent of a world environment court to enforce Kyoto targets. The musician Brian Eno and would-be MP Zac Goldsmith are patrons.

They seek a collaboration with Goldblum, who has previously advertised Toyota's petro-electric hybrid Prius car.

Goldblum and the ClientEarth CEO plan a further (presumably staccato) meeting in Los Angeles this summer.

Martine's novel hold-up

Martine McCutcheon's attempt to reinvent herself as a Mills and Boon de nos jours appears to have hit the buffers.

In January, the cockney actress, 31, was reported to be in talks with several leading publishing houses about her planned debut novel, The Mistress, about "the other woman", the first in a trilogy about strong women.

However, I hear the talks with the Century imprint – whose seduction had included the exclamation that Martine "writes like an angel" – were placed on hold. There has been a parting of ways between McCutcheon and her agent handling the sale, Jaine Brent.

"I'm not actually dealing with Martine any more," says Brent when I call. As for whether the pair have fallen out: "I'd rather not comment on that."

More Balls

Aha, a photo op – let's be 'avin ya! The Schools Secretary Ed Balls, a Norwich FC supporter, and Culture Secretary Andy Burnham, an Evertonian and one-time pitch invader, yesterday played each other in a heated football computer game (Fifa 08). The pretext was their press conference about a crackdown on violent games.

"Have you any idea what's going on because I'm not very good at this," Balls told one boy. The ministers were 0-0 when they asked two kids to take over, having been called away to host the conference. Upon their return, Balls was horrified to discover Norwich losing 2-0. "I can't find the shoot button," protested the child. Interrupted Ed: "Kill the game." The Press Association duly reported the score as 0-0. Spin docs don't die, they just get promoted.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Recruitment Genius: Project Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This privately-owned company designs and manuf...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions