'Rivers of blood' candidate to get Ukip defection offer

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The Independent Online

Listening to the crunch of bone and slurp of marrow as scavengers pick apart an ex-antelope is a shivering experience.

It was only on Sunday that Nigel "rivers of blood" Hastilow's career in the Conservative Party flew off the rails when he applauded Enoch Powell. Yet the ever-peckish UK Independence Party has wasted little time in swooping to pick at the political bones.

Hastilow, a former editor of the Birmingham Post who resigned as a Tory parliamentary candidate in the West Midlands after being ostracised by David Cameron, will be formally approached by Ukip about joining them. They want him to stand for the party in the same area at the next general election. The Ukip leader Nigel Farage comments cryptically: "I have been a very busy boy," adding: "This is something we're going to be talking about in the next week." Hastilow spent yesterday avoiding calls from the media while he considered his future.

Ukip came out in support of Hastilow on its website, declaring that he was persecuted only because he "spoke the truth" by supporting Powell's apocalyptic vision that immigration would lead Britain to "heap up its own funeral pyre".

Some might say that extra pairs of hands would be useful on strenuous Ukip nights out, to help collect everyone and make sure they are tucked up in bed and dreaming sweetly at the end of the evening.

Who could resist such a tantalising offer?

Eva having a 'mare on Tuscan photo shoot

Riding through the Mediterranean sun on your snowy white steed, with a chiseled young Brazilian chap as your guide. The stuff that dreams – and luxury calendars – are made of.

For the Hollywood actress Eva Mendes, this scene was not anywhere near as serene as it will appear in Campari's 2008 calendar.

On location in the small Italian town of Rosignano, 15 miles from Livorno, Mendes conspired to fall off her horse mid-shoot.

"I didn't get hurt, fortunately," she tells Pandora in Rome, "as I've been bucked by a horse several times before so I've got quite good at it. I think it's an energy I give off. They don't seem to like me."

Mendes recently finished remaking the 1939 Hollywood oestrogen fest The Women with Meg Ryan and Jade Pinkett Smith. And Jade didn't mind her husband, Will Smith, snogging Eva in Hitch? "No. She's lovely," says Eva, adding: "What's snogging?"

Crowning glory

Now that the perpetrators of BBC1's "Queengate" scandal have been rounded up and taken to the Tower chopping block – RIP Peter Fincham – we can move happily on as if nothing happened. The renamed television series will air before Christmas. Which means the ghastly wait is over for writer Robert Hardman, whose accompanying glossy book, Monarchy: The Royal Family at Work, will at last be published.

"Is it? I didn't know!" he says on the phone. "Thank you for calling. Everything's suddenly moving rather swiftly."

Hardman, a pal of David Cameron, finished his behind-the-scenes tome before the bunfight between Buckingham Palace and the Beeb, but had to sit tight. While profits from the series will go to charity, that's not the case with the book. Compensation for the drag.

Just business

Sincere apologies to the jockey Frankie Dettori, who I fear I startled to within an inch of his life during our recent unplanned encounter near London's Holborn station.

Running, not for the first time, somewhat late for a nearby engagement, I was at full pelt by the time I realised the amiable Italian stood a couple of feet ahead, in my path.

Alerted by the pounding footsteps, cumbersome breathing and fast approaching figure clad in black, he spun and stared into my eyes – the look a rabbit gives you before it meets your fender. The sort of startled impression one might reserve for being bumped off in a Mafia-style hit.

Sorry Frankie! I shall put something nice in the post for you. (Not a horse's head.)

Miller's animal attraction

As CVs go, Sir Jonathan Miller's takes some beating. Seemingly not content, though, with a career which pans being a neurologist, a television presenter, a director of film, theatre and opera, and a sculptor – to name a few – I hear that the old boy intends to "retrain".

Miller, 73, who made his name in the Sixties satire Beyond The Fringe, plans to enter the traditionally lucrative world of animation.

"Jonathan is keen to do voiceovers in cartoons," explains his agent. "He has lots of funny voices he wants to get out. Animals would be ideal. He would make a great lion, or, say, a clever elephant or zebra." She adds: "Alongside all the intellectual stuff, he wants to have fun again."

Just don't call him a polymath.

Email: pandora@independent.co.uk

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