Dame Shirley in trouble again

FACING a possible surcharge over vote-rigging at Westminster City Council, the redoubtable Dame Shirley Porter is now being accused of trying to influence another election - this time the local borough elections in May.

George Weiss, leader of the LBC Listeners' Party, which is putting up 32 candidates for the elections, has suggested that the lack of any mention of his party on LBC is the result of an edict by Dame Shirley, the station's chairman. Weiss (aka Rainbow George, who used to be a regular caller to LBC phone-ins until his phone was cut off) is piqued about the edict because he claims it jeopardises the success of the Listeners' Party - of which the whole raison d'etre is the continuation of the station, due to close in October.

'A decree came down from above forbidding anyone to mention us,' he said. 'It's very upsetting. We have changed the name of the party to the One Party, but we are still planning to contest the local elections in May.

'I think she feels threatened. Dame Shirley should look out because we have a lot of influential supporters.'

LBC is dismissive, however. 'Twaddle,' says an LBC man. 'These people have nothing to do with us and what they are saying is arrant nonsense. Besides, Dame Shirley Porter has no editorial control over any programmes we broadcast.'

PROVIDING a before and after service, the Hackney Accident Prevention Department has produced a calendar which includes an advertisement from an interested party: C R Wigley Funeral Directors.

The good old days

IN A letter to the Daily Telegraph yesterday, Sir Anthony Grant fulminated about the decline in the quality of members of parliament, declaring that the character of MPs had changed dramatically 'and to some extent drastically' during his 30 years in the Commons.

How short the memory can be. Six years before Sir Anthony became MP for Harrow Central in 1964, the late Ian Harvey was forced to resign the neighbouring seat of Harrow East after being remanded on a charge of indecency, with a Coldstream Guard. Matters didn't improve. The MP taking over from Harvey was the late Commander Anthony Courtenay, who lost the seat in 1966 after the Russians circulated photographs of him with a girl in a Moscow hotel room.

DESPITE the Charity Commissioners' continuing investigation into a pounds 6m fraud at the Salvation Army, the army still prides itself on its financial acumen, and has just taken on an independent financial adviser to write a column in its magazine, Values. In what could be seen as a veiled attempt to persuade investors to keep faith with the Army, Richard Hunter's first article carries the headline 'Put your money where your heart is'.

Graham Day for PM

THE PRESENT vacuum at the heart of government has prompted Business Age magazine to compile a dream cabinet. The winning team suggested by readers is filled with bluff mavericks such as Alan Sugar (Chief Secretary to the Treasury), Lord White of Hull (Foreign Secretary) and Sir John Harvey-Jones (President of the Board of Trade), all falling over themselves to come up with plans to end Britain's woes. Favoured ideas include reintroducing the stocks and abolishing the DTI. The new prime minister is the former chairman of British Aerospace, Sir Graham Day.

The prospective new chancellor, Peter Jay, Economics and Business editor at the BBC, is less than happy with the proposals. 'I have no wish to be a politician,' he said firmly. 'A group of people like that could not carry on for more than a few days. The whole idea is absurd.'

AMONG the first women to be ordained at St Paul's Cathedral in April: Alison Christian.


14 January 1962 Ned Rorem, composer, writes in his diary: 'The Big Symphony Orchestra Player, that most skilled of musicians, is of necessity amorphous. Unlike the actor who's only too willing to be seen on stage without a fee, the Orchestra Player pertains to a benevolently fascist mass. He is absorbed, anonymous, so his trade union is strong: he speaks not of Dohnanyi but of dames, cards, dough. Everyone knows he's a frustrated soloist. Conductors? They are at once doting mothers and spoiled babies, amiable, gregarious, susceptible to flattery from young ladies. Their wives long ago learned long-suffering, keeping their cool by observing you with eyes exclaiming: He may be yours now, but not for long] Yet finally their mates are faithful, having little time for indiscretion. Have I lost any friends by writing this? Unlikely.'