Matthew Bell: The IoS Diary

Denies everything

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As if he hasn't got enough on his plate, word reaches me that Tiger Woods has found himself in the rough at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.

Even before we learned of his colourful bedroom behaviour, his antics on the course left much to be desired, with tantrums and swearing as much a part of the performance as impeccably judged swings. After years of turning a blind eye to this, I'm told senior figures at the club have issued Woods with a warning, which could jeopardise his entry to next year's British Open at the terrifyingly smart club. but he's probably got other things to worry about for now.

***

Since he left Downing Street there have been various attempts to portray Alastair Campbell as someone other than a motor-mouthed Machiavelli. But it seems he really is human. After watching a rugby match at Keighley, West Yorkshire, where he used to be a fan, he was signing copies of his book when winger Sam Gardner sidled over with his own draft novel. "I expect you get a lot of this, but could you take a look?" he asked, handing over a plastic bag. While some hearts might have sunk, Campbell duly read the book and passed it on to his agent. When Gardner got in touch again he was thrilled to be given various tips and suggested tweaks, and The Rectifires has now been published. "He's written me a foreword," Gardner tells me. "He's a nice man – polite and down to earth." The rehabilitation, annoyingly, continues.

***

Those who say Boris Johnson is nothing but trouble for David Cameron should know that the Mayor of London is doing his best to help. On Friday, a star chamber will meet to discuss whether Edward McMillan-Scott, Tory MEP for Yorkshire, was wrongly ejected from the party after he took a stand against the ECR, Cameron's new European group. Many Tories feel McMillan-Scott was unfairly treated and now there is a suggestion their number may include Boris. Johnson knows McMillan-Scott from his years as a Brussels correspondent, and is backing his "less meat, less heat" position. "Boris told me he wanted to lose a stone, so I told him to eat less meat," McMillan-Scott tells me. "I lost two and a half stone by not eating meat." Fine, but what about his other campaign? Is Boris backing it? Boris's spokesman is tight-lipped. "This is not something he would get involved in either way," he says. Boris? Judicious? Well, well.

***

Producers of Have I Got News For You have grown ever more adventurous in their choice of guests, but the union leader Bob Crow was a tangential thought too far. As Crow, better known for calling strikes than cracking gags, was introduced to the studio audience before the cameras rolled, there were loud boos and hisses, as though a pantomime villain had walked on stage. A programme source explains: "Our audience is composed mainly of London commuters. They are not amused by Tube strikes."

***

One top environmentalist who won't be anywhere near Copenhagen is David Bellamy, the respected botanist and lisping Father Christmas lookalike. He is yet to be convinced of the link between human activity and climate change, and is currently busy on his memoirs, which set out his views. Since coming out as a sceptic, Bellamy has been ostracised by the BBC, he says, and his profile is certainly not what it used to be. But he continues to campaign to save the rainforest, and is vigorously opposed to palm oil plantations in Borneo, which are threatening orang-utans. He tells me he is also set to open a giant Butterfly World in Hertfordshire in February. And where did we catch up? On a 1p Ryanair flight to Pisa. Oops!

***

An awkward scene was narrowly avoided last week for David Blunkett and his one-time lover Kimberly Quinn. Both were invited to the launch of Dogs in Vogue, a glossy book about the pooches used in shoots for the fashion mag. The party was in aid of Guidedogs for the Blind, trainers of Blunkett's labradors, and was co-hosted by Vogue, whose publisher is Stephen Quinn, husband of Kimberly. Happily, Blunkett declined his invitation, allowing them an event-free evening.

m.bell@independent.co.uk

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