Pandora: 'Wizard of Oz' lined up for Libertas campaign

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The Independent Online

There is disappointment in the Conservative Party's ranks following news that Lynton Crosby is being lined up to run the far-right party Libertas's campaign for the European elections in June.

It is a surprising move, since many had expected the so-called "Wizard of Oz"– who not only co-ordinated the Tories' 2005 general election but also Boris Johnson's successful campaign to become London's mayor last summer – to be roped into overseeing the Conservatives' European efforts.

Yesterday evening, though, Jonathan Isaby, Conservative Home's authoritative columnist, posted a blog claiming that Crosby's London-based company had taken on the Libertas brief.

The news follows persistent rumours that Crosby has been seen visiting the party's headquarters in Brussels. If true, it would represent a major coup for the party.

As well as his successful forays into British politics, Crosby also masterminded an impressive four consecutive victories for Australia's "dull dog", the former prime minister John Howard.

Spall & Co are left in limbo

I do hope we haven't heard the last of Heaven And Earth, the big-budget biopic of Victorian surgeon James Miranda Barry. As I reported last month, the cast, including Timothy Spall and Pierce Brosnan, were left in limbo when funds failed to materialise at the 11th hour. Now it seems filming may have postponed indefinitely.

"I'm still supposed to be in Cape Town filming it but they've sent us home," Spall told me at the premiere of The Damned United. "Hopefully it'll be resurrected soon as I have a few other things on this spring."

Building work that's not all Wright

Spare a thought for loud-mouthed television presenter Matthew Wright, who is engaged in a bitter bureaucratic battle with a pack of local builders.

The host of The Wright Stuff claims he has suffered considerable damage to his house in Primrose Hill, north London, and has been forced to complain to Camden Council. "Chunks of plaster have fallen from my walls into my living room," he tells the Camden New Journal. "I've spent thousands on my mortgage."

Even worse, apparently, the builders are creating a "non-stop cacophony". Not unlike the guests on his show, then.

Liam goes into Pretty Green fashion

What to expect of Liam Gallagher's new clothing range Pretty Green? The surly Oasis frontman, who announced his unlikely move into the fashion industry earlier this week, claims the collection will ape his own modish wardrobe.

"None of that skinny stuff," he rants in a spirited explanation posted on YouTube. "I want to get rid of that – and all those pointy shoes too, coming at you like a poker cue. It's like, 'do you have a license for them bastards, or what?'"

Gallgher, it seems, prefers a more streamlined aesthetic: "It's gonna be a nice classic range – classic parkas, classic trenchcoat, classic shoes, a nice jumper, no mad gear going on, nothing wild. Not Jean Paul Gaultier. I'm not going to be putting anything out unless I'd wear it. It's not like I'm not doing it for the money or anything."

The label, somewhat curiously named after a song by noted skinny-suit-wearers The Jam, will be launched over the summer.

Parliamentary baggage

Here's a prospect to strike fear into the hearts of any less-than-buff Members of Parliament. Next week, as part of their ongoing campaign to lower the weight limits of luggage on planes, baggage handlers from the Unite union will demonstrate outside Parliament, challenging passing politicians to on-the-spot weightlifting contests. I am told that participants will have to try lifting typically overloaded suitcases. At least that'll get them tackling some weighty issues (sorry).