DAIRY / Safe seat wanted for ex-Chancellor

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WITH THE demise of his Kingston-upon-Thames constituency, Norman Lamont is having difficulties obtaining a safe seat before the next election, and those difficulties are not being eased by his former colleague, Sir Leon Brittan. The former Home Secretary, now vice- president of the European Commission, may run against him for the seat of Vales of York County, one of the few predominantly Tory seats created in the new Boundary Commission's proposals.

According to colleagues, Sir Leon is laying down contingency plans in the event of not landing the presidency of the Commission when Jacques Delors retires in the summer. And since his original Yorkshire constituency of Richmond is now the seat of his protege William Hague, the neighbouring Vales would provide the next best stamping ground, particularly since it has taken 20 per cent of Richmond's voters.

According to officials at Mr Hague's constituency office, rumours of a potential conflict between the two men have been circulating for some time. 'It is not surprising that both are interested in the seat, since not only is it expected to be safe, but it is a very beautiful area,' says one. 'We had even heard rumours that Diana, Sir Leon's wife, might be applying.'

Meanwhile, friends of Mr Lamont are eschewing suggestions made recently in a Sunday paper that he wants to emulate Enoch Powell and become an Ulster Unionist MP. 'He still hankers after returning to the Cabinet,' says one.

WITH 3.3m pounds pledged by Allied Lyons, the Royal Shakespeare Company should be living the high life; however, when the company travels to Japan next month, the thespians will be expected to make economies, according to a booklet issued by the Hospitable & Economical Japanese Inn Group and circulated to the cast. Here is one rule about how to use the bath: 'Do not use soap in the tub. Please remember that the tub water is not for one person only but is to be used repeatedly, therefore, do not pull out the drain plug.'


James Galway is the first to admit that he owes much of his success to his former manager, Michael Emerson. It was Emerson who realised that the conventional repertoire for a flautist was not going to make his charge a millionaire, and pushed Galway into more populist approaches to his art. His reward? Galway jumped ship, joining Mark McCormack.

Since then, Emerson has emigrated to Mexico, where he manages his flautist wife, Elena Duran, no doubt expecting never to see his former protege again. Not so, according to Classical Music magazine. On a recent visit to London, he walked out of his hotel room with his wife, and bumped into someone familiar occupying the opposite room. Originality drained from him, Emerson could only manage a feeble, 'Fancy meeting you here.'

AN UNDERGRADUATE friend of Tim Yeo's has rather disloyally passed on the following motto favoured by the MP (still) for Suffolk South during his days at Emmanuel College, Cambridge: 'Never keep a diary, and always wear a condom.'


Still smarting over his rejection by the Garrick Club and Question Time, Jeremy Paxman has now been belittled by Greek Television's Spitting Image programme. On a recent visit to London, the Greeks called on the Spitting Image Production Company that makes the puppets, and plucked Paxman's effigy off the shelf. Is Paxman that famous in Athens? Apparently not. The Greeks were merely looking for extras, and in Paxman saw just what they needed. For those who missed it, the television presenter made his Greek debut on New Year's Day, first as a policeman, then a cocktail bar waiter.


12 January 1963: Noel Coward writes in his diary: 'Coley and I went aboard the Queen Mary at noon, having endured two hours of purgatory in an unheated train on which was served the most disgusting breakfast. 'Milton thou shouldst be living at this hour: England hath need of thee.' I am aware this quotation seems irrelevant and that perhaps it should be Shakespeare, but I am sure that either could run British Railways more efficiently than this bloody Welfare State. I am becoming almighty sick of the Welfare State; sick of general 'commonness', sick of ugly voices, sick of bad manners and teenagers and debased values. I have enjoyed my two weeks in London on the whole, but it has been bitterly, bitterly cold. I had a rapprochement with Kenneth Tynan and discovered he is deeply scared of the atomic bomb, genuinely, gibberingly scared] This I find surprising. It seems far too vast a nightmare to be frightened of.'