Rawnsley backtracks on pledge to reveal sources

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The Independent Online

* It was the book that changed the way we looked at New Labour, revealing the full extent of the infighting between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown that has scarred this administration.

Andrew Rawnsley's Servants of the People, published in 2000, said Blair offered psychological reasons for Brown's "impossible" behaviour, and accused Blair and Brown of lying about the £1m gift from Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone.

The writer boasted sources from the "very apex" of the party. They are thought to include Alastair Campbell and Peter Mandelson briefing against Brown, with the Chancellor's right-hand-man Ed Balls and then-spokesman Charlie Whelan returning fire.

Rawnsley left gossip junkies salivating with a pledge to reveal who bad-mouthed whom when Blair left Downing Street. He promised: "In the modest expectation that someone may find it of a future use, I will make my source material available when the current Prime Minister is no longer in power."

As that day draws closer, Rawnsley tells me he has cold feet. "I'm prepared to give guidance to historians of the Blair years," he says, "but I am not going to publish the identities of the sources, nor am I going to let anyone else publish them. That would not be fair to the many people who talked to me in confidence."

Commendable behaviour, although it begs the question why he ever promised to reveal all.

* With London Fashion Week almost upon us, it seems apposite to highlight the plight of those tireless horses of the clothes industry: supermodels.

Erin O'Connor who owns "a face like a Roman vase" according to Karl Lagerfeld, has taken the brave first step. To barely audible violin music, she told Between Ourselves on Radio 4: "Most successful models are naturally thin [because] it is too much hard work.

"It is hard to smile. A certain amount of concentration is required. A furrowed brow is about getting to the end of a runway without a fatal accident."

O'Connor said her parents only realised she had "made it" as a model (despite shoots for Versace and Chanel) when she signed a contract with Marks & Spencer. "We never shopped there because it was the place that posh people shopped to buy food and nice underwear. I've arrived."

* A filthy, bleeding, white-vested Bruce Willis made his name (and won legions of female admirers) after defeating 12 terrorists intent on explosive murder in the 1988 action movie, Die Hard.

The tough cop he plays in that film would probably not approve of the interview he has just granted wrinklies magazine Saga.

"Having photographers in your face, and your life and marriage being reported on all the time, can be the most frightening experience," says Willis, 51.

"It slowly grinds you down. I thought I could live with it. How wrong can you be? There's no space to turn and no air to breathe."

Hopefully, he will pull himself together in time to film the fourth instalment of Die Hard - unless he plans to play the simpering victim this time.

* Having won a place on David Cameron's "A-list" of candidates for the next election, the chief executive of the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance, Simon Hart, says he will quit his job if he wins a seat in Parliament.

"There is no way it would be proper for me to combine both roles," Hart tells me. He hopes to stand in Camarthen West and Pembrokeshire South and overturn the 1,910-majority of Labour's Nick Ainger.

Hart also denies a "conspiracy" to take over his local Conservative party by signing up scores of friends to ensure his selection.

"That's ridiculous. David Cameron has encouraged members to get their friends to join, which means more support and money."

* Who could this be queuing for the raucous Edinburgh midnight show Spank! at the weekend? None other than the The Spectator contributing editor and right-wing pundit, Peter Oborne, says a colleague. (Bear with me: this is Pandora's equivalent of Gwyneth seen shopping at Londis with bed hair.)

Spank! boasts wonderfully gratuitous nudity, offering performers one minute on stage to plug their own show, as long as they do so naked.

Oborne did not tread the boards to promote a forthcoming op-ed piece - nor was he even there, the man himself insists, despite my mole's "ocular proof".

"No, I know I didn't go to that," he tells me. "Tragically, very annoyingly, I missed it." Oborne says he was in Edinburgh to see his daughter perform in an adaptation of a Nabokov short story. "I went to a lot of late-night bars, though. I went to the Underbelly bar and I liked that a lot." Bravo!