The <i>IoS</i> Diary

Pure as the driven snow
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The Independent Online

Those who enjoy a good conspiracy theory – or who can't face the idea of feeling sorry for the Italian premier, Silvio Berlusconi, after he was attacked last week – are directed to an entertaining YouTube entry. It asks why the TV camera nearest the event turned away at the supposed moment of impact, why there was no blood on his face when he was bundled into his car, why he got out of the car again after he'd been hit, by now with blood on his face, why the blood on his face dried so quickly, why his shirt remained spotless, why he was taken 10km to hospital, not to the nearest one. It's all yours, at

Ever since we were told that Gordon Brown couldn't decide which biscuits he most enjoys, the nation has been in stitches at his supposed dithering, but quite unfairly so, it seems. Carrie Longton, one of the founders of mumsnet, tells me: "He didn't refuse to answer the question. There was an avalanche of questions – 300 to 400.... The biscuit one didn't really cross his radar. It's not that he saw it and refused to answer, just that there were so many others that seemed a bit more pressing, on things like the armed forces and childcare." So when various papers said he was "repeatedly" asked about it, they were wrong. The question was filed electronically many times, but he never knew. When he heard about it, he twittered the answer the following day.

More sadness for the Mosley family. Following the death of Max Mosley's son Alex earlier this year, now Shaun Mosley, heir of the novelist Nicholas Mosley, Max's half-brother, has died, of a sudden, galloping cancer at the age of 60.

What news of Ross Hindley, the former News of the World journalist? Now travelling round the world, he is, unfortunately, unavailable to answer questions from the Commons media committee about the NoW's hacking of celebrities' telephones. You will recall that the paper claims only one of its journalists was involved, and that he (Clive Goodman, the royal reporter) was sacked, but Hindley transcribed tapes of lots of voicemail messages and wrote that it was "for Neville", widely assumed to be a reference to Neville Thurlbeck, the paper's chief reporter. So can we expect Hindley (real name Hall) home for Christmas to clear up this awful confusion? Apparently not. His uncle, the former NoW editor Phil Hall, tells me the young lad won't be back for another six months or so, "when his money runs out", but says he's sure the News of the World would help me get in touch with him. Well, we'll put in the call....

On the same Sri Lanka-bound flight as Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw was the former "rock chick" and now national treasure Patsy Kensit. But while Bradshaw travelled first class, as befits a minister of the Crown, Kensit and her son were slumming it in economy. But they did get off at the Maldives, so it wasn't all pain.

The TV actor Geoffrey Palmer is evidently not a fan of Cliff Richard. He provides the voice-over to Wednesday's Grumpy Guide to Christmas, BBC2's contribution to bah-humbuggery. Talking about Christmas songs, he lays into Sir Cliff's "Mistletoe and Wine": "The worst, the absolute worst, the one thing guaranteed to make us want to kill, has got to be this man. You'd rather immerse your head in a bucket of festive reindeer snot than listen to it. But you have to. Somebody beam me up...".

The Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis, nicely turned out as ever, bumped into Simon Cowell at the Royal Variety show earlier in the month. I'm told they had a very convivial chat and he mentioned he was doing an interview with Newsnight on a forthcoming Monday, "dunno who with". Maitlis said that was a pity, as she doesn't work on Mondays. When Cowell agreed it would be a pity for Maitlis not to do the interview, she suggested he ask to do it on Tuesday, so that she could conduct it. So he did. The next day Cowell rang and said he'd met "some bird – can't remember her name", who asked if she could interview him. The BBC disapproved, having lined up Kirsty Wark already, and refused. They also gently suggested that Maitlis stick to her own projects. Asked to comment, the BBC will only say: "We don't discuss how we get our interviews."