Revealed: the power-mad reign of student rector Brown

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The Independent Online

Fortunately, we've just gained a valuable insight into how the pressures of leadership will affect our Chancellor, after Edinburgh University released documents covering his time as its rector during the 1970s.

Documents published under the Freedom of Information Act reveal what went on during Brown's formative three years in the traditionally honorific post.

Brown's conduct after that first taste of power bodes ill for the future. He used his office to advance his political campaigns and fought a lengthy legal battle with the university authorities.

Their fallings-out ranged from disputes over staff salaries and office furniture, to an - eerily prescient - argument over whether the young Brown, above, was getting publicity.

"The rector appears sensitive to the fact that the BBC did not contact him yesterday to appear on television," reads one memo.

Another argument involved Brown's installation ceremony. He demanded a formal affair, to be attended by the Duke of Edinburgh, the university's chancellor, but Prince Philip refused to play ball.

Finally, when Brown came to stand down, he ordered the university authorities to declare a special academic holiday so that he could give a valedictory address.

They declined, saying it was a "singularly inappropriate" vanity project.

* Oh, to be a fly on a wall when Derek Draper ties the knot with GMTV's delicious Kate Garraway early next month.

As befits a former bag-carrier to Peter Mandelson, Draper's nuptials already promise to be the meeja event of the year.

Now, in a bold break from tradition, he's decided to appoint a female best man.

She is Charlotte Raven, the journalist whose relationship with Julie Burchill was a talking point of 1990s' cafe society.

The couple, pictured left, split shortly before Burchill, far left, began dating Raven's brother, Daniel.

It should all make for a cracking best man's speech, since Raven is also a former girlfriend of Draper himself.

Reports suggest that they'll hold a stag night at Stringfellows in the next few weeks, which will provide Raven with further rhetorical ammo.

Sadly, Draper is reluctant to furnish Pandora readers with further details of the big day. When I called yesterday, he described this column as " the most childish thing I have ever read".

* Time for an update on Andrew Pelling, the Croydon MP whose office provides the venue for a unique professional ménage à trois.

A few weeks back, I reported that Pelling, 45, had given a job to Lucy Slaytor, a woman half his age for whom he recently left his wife.

In a remarkable political first, he'd also employed one Marianne Bowness. A strange call, since Bowness stood against him at the general election for Robert Kilroy-Silk's former Veritas Party.

Bizarrely, I learn that Bowness is still endorsing Veritas: she's listed as official agent for its candidate, Winston Mackenzie, at a recent Croydon council by-election. Lofty Pelling doesn't mind this opponent in his midst: he's a man of parts: MP, GLA member, councillor, and occasional investment banker.

* Being a fully-fledged minor celebrity, Boris Johnson is anxious to avoid the paparazzi when he dons his Speedos and heads off on a summer holiday.

To that end, he will shortly take the wife and kids on a bucket-and-spade holiday to the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan. It's the sort of place where prying photographers have a nasty habit of being executed.

"Yes, I am quite possibly going to Uzbekistan," he tells me. " No particular reason: just heading off there."

Although it promises to be quite an adventure, La Famille Johnson is unlikely to start a trend: landlocked Uzbekistan has precious few beaches, and is hardly renowned for its cuisine. As an ethical destination, it also falls down. The Uzbek government's record on human rights prompted the British ambassador, Craig Murray, to resign last year.