Here's to you, Geoffrey Robinson...

'...or is it Gerry Robinson,or Gerry Robertson QC,or Robert Robinson,or Mrs Robinson?'
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The Independent Online

When you heard that the affair of Peter Mandelson's house loan was back in the news, your heart probably sank as mine did, and for the same two reasons: one, because it is an incredibly boring story, and two, because you can never remember which one is Geoffrey Robertson and which is Gerry Robinson, or is that Gerry Robertson QC...? Well, your worries are over, because I am printing a definitive list of all those people in the public eye with confusable names like Gerry Robinson. In future, when one of them comes up, simply refer to this cut-out-and-keep list.

When you heard that the affair of Peter Mandelson's house loan was back in the news, your heart probably sank as mine did, and for the same two reasons: one, because it is an incredibly boring story, and two, because you can never remember which one is Geoffrey Robertson and which is Gerry Robinson, or is that Gerry Robertson QC...? Well, your worries are over, because I am printing a definitive list of all those people in the public eye with confusable names like Gerry Robinson. In future, when one of them comes up, simply refer to this cut-out-and-keep list.

Geoffrey Robinson MP. One-time Paymaster General, and one of the very few Labour MPs with enough cash in his pocket to be able to offer to lend friends £373,000 to buy a house on the spot. Resigned from the Government in order to spend more time with his literary agent, and has now written a book called "Look - All I Did Was Lend Peter Mandelson £373,000, All Right? By the Way, Here Are Some Devastating Comments On New Labour".

Gerry Robinson. Chairman of Granada and the Arts Council, and author of the hard-hitting pamphlet, "If Granada Can Have Motorway Service Areas the Length and Breadth of Britain, Why Can't a Dozy Organisation Like the Arts Council at Least Have a Halfway-Decent Tea Room on the A1(M)?" Has always denied having lent Peter Mandelson anything.

Geoffrey Robertson QC. Barrister and champion of the underdog. He has been called the "John Mortimer de nos jours". Married to the Australian novelist Kathy "Latte" Lette. Author of controversial bestseller "I Married An Australian Novelist, And Why Not?". Doesn't think he ever lent Peter Mandelson anything.

George "Lord" Robertson. Scottish Labour MP who became Secretary of State for War, then head of Nato. Author of "Look, All I Did Was Bomb Anything That Moved in Kosovo, All Right?". He admits to having met Peter Mandelson, but not to having bought a house for him, or, indeed, to having bombed a house for him.

Dr Geoffrey Robinson. Director and chief executive of Ordnance Survey, and thus in a good position to know exactly where Peter Mandelson's house in Notting Hill would be, not to mention the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade. Why has he kept quiet until now? Publisher of "Landranger 196: Solent and Isle of Wight" and other helpful maps.

Robinson Crusoe. Sailor and survivor. Author of controversial book "Look, All I Did Was Make Man Friday My Personal Slave, All Right?". There is still debate over whether he was right to advance a loan to Friday at crippling interest, and make him sign an agreement that after leaving service with Crusoe, he would never write an account of his period of employment with him.

Robert Robinson. Broadcaster, writer, wit, savant, anecdotalist and man who is paid to ask other people questions. Inventor of the Bobby Charlton haircut, and originator of the catchphrase: "So Mr Whittaker is still in the lead with 16 points, but these are early days yet." Author of autobiography: "Yes, Ikea Does Sound Like a Greek Island, Mrs Trubody, But It Is in Fact a Large Swedish Furniture Store, Alas".

Mary Robinson. First female president of Ireland, the neighbouring country to Northern Ireland where Peter Mandelson is Secretary of State, so he could easily have slipped across the border and asked her for a loan to buy a house, though this suggestion has of course never been made. Author of her own life story: "The First Person To Run Ireland Who Never Took A Bribe".

Felix Mendelssohn. German composer who often visited London and stayed in a large house in Notting Hill, but where the money came from nobody is saying. Author of "Italian Symphony", "Violin Concerto in E Minor", etc, etc.

James Robertson Justice. The actor who might well have played the Frank Dobson if Dobson had become Mayor of London, and a film had been made, and Justice was still alive, but he didn't and it wasn't and he isn't.

* Send a signed, blank cheque for full list of sound-alikes, including Edward G Robinson, Mrs Robinson, Sugar Ray Robinson, Robertson Hare, Robertson's Marmalade, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, etc etc

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