DIARY

The Westminster Eight roadshow

Any hopes John Major might have of a pre-election truce with the Euro- sceptics are about to be shattered. The "heroes and heroines" (their words, needless to say) of the Conservative party, including Teresa Gorman (below), Sir Teddy Taylor, Tony Marlow and others, have restyled themselves with a heavy whiff of martyrdom "the Westminster Eight" and are holding a number of "Save Our Currency" meetings.

An invitation to a meeting in Chester next month claims that "these are the heroes and heroines who stood up to the Government's bullying on Europe and were punished by having the whip removed". It adds, lest we think the event will be merely a piece of old-fashioned, healthy democratic debate in which all sides have a healthy, old-fashioned democratic respect for each other: "Save Our Currency invite you to hear the Euro-sceptics' side of the argument to balance the ceaseless drivel churned out by ... Kenneth Clarke and others ...".

Just in case anyone in the Government still thinks there might be a united front lurking there somewhere, one of the Westminster Eight, Christopher Gill, will be launching a new book today, In Their Own Words, full of quotes "that reveal the deceitfulness that has gone on throughout our membership of the EU".

Anybody for a coffin you can fold away?

Macabre tales of innovation from Zimbabwe, where the latest growth industry is ... the coffin. Roadside coffin sales, I learn, are the latest thing; and one bright entrepreneur has spotted a market for frugal ingenuity: the collapsible coffin. Handy to transport to isolated villages, the canvas-covered wooden frame folds up like a deckchair and fits neatly into a briefcase-sized bag.

A prudent investment. After all, in the words of the accompanying advertisment - one to make Saatchi & Saatchi eat their hearts out - "You bury your dead, not your future."

Soaraway BA flops with its staff

I must hand it to British Airways News, the in-house journal of our national airline. It won't let loyalty get in the way of a good story.

On the back page of the new issue is an employee opinion survey. It says that "only around 50 per cent of people are satisfied with the level of involvement and opportunity to use initiative. Furthermore, only approximately a third of employees feel that British Airways is open and honest in its internal dealing with them."

When even your own employees are unimpressed with your honesty and openness, it takes a brave man or woman to reveal that to the world. Small wonder the intrepid British Airways News hack merely signs him or herself "News Reporter".

After the Knowledge, time for charm school

Now that New York cab drivers are reportedly having courses in charm - beginning with 50 courteous phrases, from the most elementary "thank you" to "I'm sorry if you think I am driving too fast, sir," I inquired whether our own "only speak when I'm spoken to" Hackney carriage drivers have similar instruction. I'm told there is no formal courtesy training, but they are judged on "temperament" by examiners at the Public Carriage Office when they take the Knowledge. A pleasing temperament translates into street parlance as: "I thought this route would cut out traffic, guv."

Sorry Ringo, the joke's on you

My selection yesterday from the current round of jokes in the music industry vilifying drummers has prompted a reader of a certain vintage to remind me that there was an earlier butt of such jokes before Ginger Baker, late of the supergroup Cream (What do Ginger Baker and canteen coffee have in common? They're both awful without cream.) Ringo Starr, it seems, was the first target of these jibes, back in the Sixties. For example: "OK, I admit he's not the best drummer in the world." "Come off it, he's not even the best drummer in the Beatles."

And all for rather more than three tenners

A breathless press release reaches me about the Three Tenors concert at Wembley in July. Though the event has not sold out, the promoters have "found" a further 8,000 seats at Wembley, so it can now be watched by 55,000 people - "one person per 1,000 out of the nation's population", the promoters marvel; or rather fewer than watch women's hockey at the same venue, to put it another way. The Wembley show is planned to be the last ever together by Messrs Pavarotti, Domingo and Carerras, and a snip at pounds 35 to pounds 350. For those who want to revel in the occasion and buy VIP seats, I discovered yesterday what that entails. For a mere pounds 995 you not only get to see the show, you not only get a meal afterwards graced by the big three, but you also, wait for it, get free parking.

News
In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a 'dwarf planet'
scienceBut will it be reinstated?
Voices
voicesI like surprises - that's why I'm bringing them back to politics, writes Nigel Farage
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
news

As anti-Semitic attacks rise, Grant Feller re-evaluates his identity

Arts and Entertainment
Adam Levine plays a butcher who obsessively stalks a woman in Maroon 5's 'Animals' music video
music'Animals' video 'promotes sexual violence against women'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people Biographer says cinema’s enduring sex symbol led a secret troubled life
News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

News
The moon observed in visible light, topography and the GRAIL gravity gradients
science

...and it wasn't caused by an asteroid crash, as first thought

News
people
Life and Style
food and drink

Savoury patisserie is a thing now

News
Researchers say a diet of fatty foods could impede smell abilities
scienceMeasuring the sense may predict a person's lifespan
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of IT Change – West Sussex – Up to £60k DOE – Permanent

£55000 - £60000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

IT Services Team Leader

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client, a prog...

KS2 Teacher

£90 - £120 per day + tax deductable expenses: Randstad Education Leicester: Ke...

Foundation Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Our client is seeking to app...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?