Pandora: You are what you vote: Gillian's political past
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Thursday 01 April 2010
How differently things could have turned out. It might not, for instance, have fallen to Jamie Oliver to have renovated our school dinners. And – who knows? – perhaps David Cameron would be campaigning on the platform of free goji berries for all.
If only... Gillian McKeith hadn't withdrawn her application to be a Conservative councillor.
Yes, that's right: You Are What You Eat's infamous stool-dissecting dietician, "Dr" Gillian McKeith, once sat before a selection committee in the hope of standing as a councillor in Hampstead.
The revelation comes courtesy of Piers Wauchope's new book, Camden, A Political History. As the leader of the Camden Conservatives until 2006, Wauchope was present at McKeith's interview for the post.
"The chair asked her why she wanted to be a councillor and she said: 'I want to be an MP for Hampstead'," explains Wauchope. "I had to leave the room because I could not help myself from having an attack of the giggles."
McKeith had yet to land her high-profile gig with Channel 4 – though, it would seem, she wasn't lacking in confidence. "Her husband kept saying she would be bigger than Glenda Jackson in a year's time – we just could not work out why. About a month after the interview, she wrote to us to say she could not stand after all, and that was the last we heard of her." The shame!
Ronnie keeps the airwaves rolling
*Hats off to Absolute Radio, who have done what many wouldn't dare: entrust an hour of weekly broadcast time to Ronnie Wood. The (still) hard-living Rolling Stone promises to deliver a "compelling hour of music, nostalgia and tales". Thus far, producers assure us, he has yet to display his famously debauched tendencies: "Actually, no, he's been professional all the way. He's warm and has really grown as a presenter." Episodes are to be recorded prior to being broadcast, so don't expect any Ross-style rants.
Ghosts of prime ministers past
*"I wish he wouldn't keep piggy-backing on my publicity," complained Robert Harris at the screening of The Ghost, the big -screen adaptation of his novel. "This date was fixed a long time in advance."
The subject of his gripe was, naturally, Tony Blair, whose tenure provided the inspiration for Harris's fictional PM. "Maybe when the DVD comes out we can do a two-for-the-price-of-one offer with his memoirs. The film is a kind of trailer to them." What do you think, Tony?
Honestly, we're in a no-win situation
*For the first year in its history, the Adam Smith Institute has opted not to award its annual Honest Politician Of The Year Award, explaining that "no qualifying candidates could be found". Surely not! Anthony Steen was, apparently, nominated after claiming that people were "jealous" of his sprawling second home, as was Sir Nicholas Winterton for airing his opinion of standard-class travellers ("a totally different type of people"). Alas, neither man quite made the grade. Not to worry: "Next year we will give an award for Corrupt Politician Of The Year," the event's organisers added. "Corrupt politicians are actually the most honest. When bought, they stay bought." A new law to live by, then.
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