Diary

There is turmoil verging on revolt in the normally peaceful bastion that was Tory Central Office. The thirtysomethings traditionally prepared to work for menial salaries in return for the first step towards a political career are livid. John Major has issued a confidential memo to all members of his new cabinet instructing them not to hire anyone from Central Office as their special advisers. For one man, James Walsh, 26, it is a particular blow. A month ago, Gillian Shephard rewarded him for four years of hard grind with a post as her man at Education and Employment. Three weeks ago, he held a party to celebrate. But No 10 refused to approve his promotion. He would have to stay put. Mr Major's reasoning is that he does not want to lose any more of his young bureaucrats from their current areas of expertise in the run-up to the general election. But he has succeeded only in alienating the Central Office youngsters upon whom he professes to rely. "The whole point of working in Central Office is to gain promotion to a special advisership," said one who works there. "To make an example out of James like this is completely terrible. People already feel badly treated because the pay is so low. Now he wants to take away the chance of promotion. It's a complete farce."

Still, the Major memo does not quite explain last week's seemingly baffling appointment of the staunch right-winger and Portillo apparatchik John Bercow, 32, as special adviser to the staunchly wet Heritage Secretary, Virginia Bottomley. I, however, can.

It seems Mrs Bottomley's shortlist of 10 contained too many well-heeled middle-class blue-stocking gals for her liking. "Peter," she reportedly said to her plummy-toned PPS, Peter Ainsworth, MP for Surrey East, after the fifth pearl necklace, Laura Ashley dress and velvet hairband had made its appearance in the interview room, "they are all far too like you and me. I think we need a contrast." Hence the appointment of Bercow, as happy in a shell suit - he is a qualified tennis coach - as he is in a black tie.

He escaped the curse of the Major memo because he was previously Jonathan Aitken's special adviser, and before that worked in PR. "Ah, well," sighed one who was disappointed not to get the job, "if anyone is going to stop her giving money to men prancing round in tights, it's John."

In a magazine interview last weekend the former "wild child" Amanda de Cadenet, estranged wife of the Duran Duran guitarist John Taylor, talked seriously about her plans for a career as an actress. "Being a mother on its own was just not fulfilling enough for me," she sighed.

But I have proof that the 23-year-old has indeed long harboured keen thespian ambitions: she is pictured above, aged 12, in her first ever walk-on part as a conquistador in Benenden school's 1984 fourth-form play, Inca. Though she did not have a leading role, Benenden seniors remember that Ms de Cadenet brought a star-like quality to the performance. "She ensured she got herself noticed," says one, "by continually winking at the audience."

The news that Piers Morgan, the fresh-faced youth who edits Rupert Murdoch's News of the World, is leaving to take charge of the Daily Mirror came as no surprise to senior executives who attended Murdoch's recent News Corporation conference on Australia's Hayman Island. Morgan, they say, distinguished himself by the dexterity with which he kept himself out of the conference chamber and inside the bar - all week long. His obvious disinclination to suck up to the media tycoon - an unusual characteristic within the Wapping stable these days - was, says my source, "plain for all to see".

One can perhaps understand Morgan's feelings, though. The corporate video of the Hayman trip is an illuminating five-minute film. Set to the song "I Still Call Australia Home", the camera settles on Murdoch, pans to Tony Blair, resettles on Murdoch, pans to his son Lachlan, resettles on Murdoch, pans to a sumptuous banquet with a vast melting ice sculpture, resettles on Murdoch, etc, etc, etc. If one weren't conducting the same love affair as the cameraman, one can see that it might all be a bit much.

In the wake of Ray Illingworth's ignominious dumping of the English cricket chaplain, Andrew Wingfield Digby, it is a brave clergyman who now thrusts his dog collar into the batting limelight. But marching forth to Pakistan this autumn as the manager of the England A (reserve) cricket team tour is the Rev Michael Vockins, vicar of three parishes in Herefordshire and secretary of Worcestershire Cricket Club.

Vockins, 51, is a tough cookie: more Indiana Jones than Derek Nimmo. In 1986, he led a lost touring team through the African bush in the dead of night, unarmed. "When our host found us, he was horrified to see that we didn't have pistols," he chuckles. "As for suffering the same fate as Wingers Diggers, well, I don't play the same role. I don't tend to give my men spiritual guidance and they don't tend to ask for it. They can't quite forget that whatever else I may be, I am also their boss."

He may be the author of two highly acclaimed books at the tender age of 25, but none the less there was a momentary choke over the Alpen the other morning when the Swiss writer Alain de Botton found himself referred to in a lonely hearts advertisement. It said: "Three colours red. Alain de Botton, Debussy, Satie. Bookish male, 32, seeks female into the same. Ldn"

"I found it very, very frightening and just a teeny bit flattering," says de Botton, whose third book, Kiss & Tell, is published by Macmillan this week. "I hope he finds himself a soul mate, although I must say I thought the collection a bit weird."

De Botton's own love life - increasingly a phenomenon of national interest after his first two tomes on the subject, Essays in Love and The Romantic Movement - is alive and well. "It was a friend, not me, who discovered the ad whilst trawling through the columns. He then sent it to me," he assures me.

News
people
News
people And here is why...
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?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
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

Associate Recrutiment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

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
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
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