Pandora: Tony Blair will go to the ball

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The Independent Online

Much tittering in the publishing industry last week, following the news that a certain Icelandic volcano had rendered Tony Blair (plus tan) unable to return from the Middle East. Not only was he due to join the Labour Party on the campaign trail, but he was to be thrown a no-expense-spared do at the London Book Fair by his publishers, Random House, in order to meet and greet industry figures. Unable to cancel the event, the champagne and canapés had to be passed around without him.

Still, it seems that Mr Blair is one author for whom there are no budgetary limits. We're assured that an equally lavish occasion is to follow in the near future. "Yes, it's being rescheduled so that he can be there in person," explains a spokesman for Random House. "Though I won't be able to tell you the date – it would be too much of a security risk." Those invited, presumably, won't be deemed quite such a risk.

It's in the presentation, says Cameron

What's this? A fan of Chris Evans. A would-be prime ministerial fan, no less. Asked by the Radio Times to pick between Adrian Chiles's usurper and other hosts, David Cameron opts for the former. He also chooses Jonathan Ross over Terry Wogan and Simon Cowell over Cheryl Cole, which may have something to do with the fact that last time he lavished praise on the pop starlet, she labelled him "slippery".

* After his astute analysis of the post-debate world ("Nick's like Frodo...") Lembit Opik, left, offers us an equally lucid vision of cross-party government. "I've overcome political differences and worked with the other parties for years," he says, pointing to his performances alongside Stephen Pound and Nigel Evans at the Commons variety show.

* Ah! it seems Nancy Dell'Olio's flirtation with the Opposition has come to a close. The glossy former squeeze of Sven-Göran Eriksson had been rumoured to be turning blue (or yellow?). Judging by appearances in Exeter, nothing is further from the truth. She could be seen campaigning side by side with Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw. The pair were famously pictured 'aving it large on the Cafe De Paris dance floor a couple of years ago. We don't call him the Minister of Sound for nothing.

* It was only a matter of time: an advert for a Nick Clegg "Action Man" catches Pandora's eye atop the back page of Liberal Democrat News. The doll boasts but a few of the party leader's superpowers: strange indefinable quality! Impossible to satirise! Gives good debate! Amazingly nice! Unfortunately, though, not tangible: just a mock-up from an enthusiastic designer. How long until a 3D version follows?