Matthew Bell: The IoS Diary

Surveillance without the bugs

Share

With her bushbaby eyes and thrusting shoulder pads, Joan Collins has brought a sprinkle of glamour wherever she goes since the heady days of 'Dynasty'. This Christmas she has lent her finest Alexis Carrington voice to Marks & Spencer in a series of TV ads in which she pretends to pretend passing off M&S food as her own. As the images of mouthwatering morsels roll, we hear Joan telling us about her "delightful steak and ale pies" and "gorgeous mini roast beef Yorkshire puddings with horseradish crème fraîche". Delicious! The only thing is that Joan is a vegetarian. Your secret's safe with us, Joan.

Just over a month ago, life was looking bleak for Raj Persaud, the TV shrink who became a star after years of appearing on 'This Morning'. After being found guilty of plagiarism he was forced to quit his post as consultant at a leading London hospital. His income as a psychobabble rent-a-quote dropped too. But things are looking up. He has a book out in the new year – not a memoir, but a guide on how to be socially successful, complete with a witty title: 'Charm Offensive'. Charm is one thing he knows all about, so we trust his work will, this time, be all his own.

Top international architects have joined an escalating row after Israel's supreme court approved plans to plonk a Museum of Tolerance on to, er, an ancient Muslim cemetery. The idea is to promote tolerance but, not surprisingly, it's having the opposite effect. More than 40 architects, including Will Alsop, creator of the Peckham Library, have written a letter complaining about the proposed building. "All the architecture in the world cannot engender harmony on the basis of trampling over people's rights and history," they say. Curiously, Lord (Richard) Rogers, founder of the Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine campaign, has yet to make his own views known.

Gwyneth Paltrow is discovering the perils of being an eco-celeb. That champion of our feathered and furry friends Viva!, the Vegetarians International Voice for Animals, has got in a flap over Gwyneth's Thanksgiving turkey. "Gwyneth Paltrow has set her sights on this poor beleaguered bird," fumes Justin Kerswell, Viva!'s campaigns manager. It was only two weeks ago that Paltrow was forced to apologise to her eco-sensitive fans for promoting a fashion label that uses fur. Adds Kerswell: "Not only do millions die for Thanksgiving and Christmas, turkeys now have to contend with an actress whose green and ethical credentials are vanishing quicker than her Hollywood career." Ouch.

There wasn't much to laugh about in the Queen's Speech, but a small burst of comic relief ensued in the hands of recently appointed Scottish peer Lady Ford. She told of how, being new to the House, she once inadvertently sat on the Bishops' Bench. "I was sitting minding my own business late one evening when my error became manifest when the Right Reverend Prelate, who will remain nameless, sat down beside me. I immediately realised my error and apologised. He leant over and said conspiratorially, 'You will find on this Bench that if you wear a Laura Ashley nightdress you will fit in a lot better.' Ooh, vicar!

It was standing room only at the London School of Economics on Wednesday for an audience with Cherie Blair. An alumna of the school, Cherie was on top form, giving plenty for Tony to blush about. Recalling sharing a room with two other women when a student, she generated much tittering with her innuendo-laden observation that "I don't suppose you have three girls in a room in quite that way now". Some audience members were surprised at how easy a ride Cherie was given, prompting speculation the students had been hand picked. But I'm reassured no such rigging took place. The most probing questions came from LSE director Howard Davies. He even caught her fibbing when she denied having swapped the furniture between 10 and 11 Downing Street before moving in in 1997. "Oh yes you did – you stole Gordon's lamps. It's in the book," he snapped, quick as a flash. "Well, Gordon doesn't care about those sorts of things," she replied. Not a defence that would stand up in court, one feels.

m.bell@independent.co.uk

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Election catch-up: I’m not saying the Ed stone is bad – it is so terrible I am lost for words

John Rentoul
 

Election 2015: The SNP and an SMC (Salmond-Murdoch Conspiracy)

Matthew Norman
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living