Matthew Bell: The IoS Diary

Arm in arm with the crowned heads of Europe

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No one escapes suspicion, least of all respectable academics such as Dr Eamonn Butler, Director of the Adam Smith Institute. In an embarrassing indictment of the surveillance culture he has just written a book about, Butler was last week detained by police for, er, walking along the street. Ironically the incident occurred while he was being interviewed about his book, The Rotten State of Britain. "We'd finished the inside shots, so we went outside to do some set-ups of me walking down the street," he tells me. "After about two minutes up screeched a red police car, and two armoured officers got out to ask our business. Pretty obvious, I'd have thought, since the cameraman had a huge camera on a tripod and the interviewer was carrying one of those microphones like a shaggy dog." Officers explained the offenders had been captured on at least four different security cameras, and they were merely following procedure.

***

The media circus has moved on but Jake Myerson may have to face it all over again if The Lost Child is one day turned into a film. His mother, the author Julie Myerson, has not ruled out adapting her controversial new book for the screen. Speaking at a panel discussion about film adaptations held by Film Four last week, Myerson was asked whether she would ever put The Lost Child on the big screen. "Not now, but maybe in 20 years," she said. "I've talked about it at length with my husband and we've decided not to sell the rights yet. I can control a book but I can't control a film. I own the characters in a novel but in The Lost Child these are real people." Her novel The Story of You is currently being adapted by Film Four.

***

Anyone planning drastic action to escape the ubiquitous Alastair Campbell should think twice before heading for Australia. At a G20 preach-in at St Paul's Cathedral with Gordon Brown, Oz Prime Minister Kevin Rudd disclosed he had been in talks with Campbell recently. When he's not guest-editing the New Statesman or plastered all over the BBC, the former spin-doctor is helping Brown behind the scenes. Let's hope he's now given a long contract down under.

***

It was meant to be a harmless April Fool's Day gag. An email circulated the Open University's Milton Keynes campus warning of heightened security as Gordon Brown and Barack Obama would be dropping in, along with Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy and Sir Fred Goodwin. Alas heightened security was just what they needed after word spread and reports filtered back that a group of Islamists from Luton was planning a protest against US involvement in Afghanistan, prompting widespread panic.

***

Following my revelation that Liz Hurley's reality TV show had been rejected by TV execs comes news she now harbours more realistic ambitions – to work in a shop. Hurley, left, plans to serve behind the till at her bikini shop at Bicester Village, the faux-New England discount centre on the M40. "I used to have a Saturday job in a jean shop and adored it," she says, "I'm going to work behind the till at my shop.... I can't wait!"

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