Diary

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The Independent Online
Bianca's dirty linen gets a White wash

CAST your mind back a dozen Establishment sex scandals or so, and you may come across the Bordes affair. Nice Pamela, nasty newspaper editors, hint of a politician or two? Then it turns out she'd do it with just about anyone for pounds 500? That's the one. Well, the anyone in question was Stuart White of the News of the World, who did indeed find Pamela friendly for cash in a room in the Park Lane Hotel back in 1989. In the interests of publicising his new political thriller, 'Til The Fat Lady Sings (the lives of Nick Carter, international journalist and Bianca, international 'darkly beautiful' person, collide after he unearths her secret), White has offered this diary the true story of what happened in that hotel bedroom. We can't, of course, commit so gross an intrusion (except to say no, he definitely did not - even though she emerged from the bathroom completely naked) but we can bring you this from the novel: 'She took a bundle of dollars and rasped the sharp edges down the front of her body, across one breast and then the other . . . To his amazement he heard a voice, the voice of a man he knew was Nick Carter, coming from a long, long way away, and it was saying: 'Look I'm sorry, but I don't think I can do this'.' Bianca, by the way, dies only a few pages later. But the scandal lives on. And the same, according to White, could be true of the Pamela story. 'Certain events could conspire to bring the whole truth out,' he says darkly. And he's not talking about outing some more newspaper editors.

DAVID MACLEAN, a junior environment minister, definitely visited Kent to see a project to encourage the dormouse population yesterday. But can we believe that, on being shown a dormouse's radio tracking collar, he asked: 'Any chance of fitting one of those to David Mellor?'?

Do as he says . . . A LESSON in etiquette from Nicholas Ridley, writing in the latest edition of the Field: 'If a woman is ugly, there is no need to say so. If one takes a dislike to someone, there is no need to make it obvious. If one thinks someone is inadequate, one's duty is to bolster that person's ego. All these courtesies are easy to extend to one's fellow citizens. They do no harm (even though white lies are involved) and they are part of my definition of 'good manners'.' This is, of course, the same Nicholas Ridley who, just before the end of his career, described the European Commission as '17 unelected reject politicians', monetary union as 'a German racket designed to take over the whole of Europe', and the French as Germany's 'poodles'. Perhaps he's mellowed.

THANK YOU, Durex, for the three gold condoms, just like those you're generously sending to every British athlete to take to the Olympic games. They're extra-long, doubtless for the likes of the runner Kriss Akabusi, who was asked once by Clive Anderson about the shape in his Lycra shorts. He confided that he kept his lunch down there.

House heroes AND here, from interviews in the House magazine, is the Top Ten of political heroes of the new intake of MPs. Among the Tories, Churchill is first with 11 votes, followed by Baroness Thatcher (six); Disraeli (five); John Major (four); Iain Macleod (three); Wm Pitt the Younger (two); Richard Ryder, the chief whip, gets two votes as well (creeps). A new boy to watch (very closely) is Alan Duncan, MP for Rutland and Melton, who chose to nominate the eccentric Scottish statesman Sir Nicholas Fairbairn. Labour heroes are a more disparate bunch. Aneurin Bevan wins, closely followed by Neil Kinnock and Nelson Mandela. John Smith is not a hero. There's also Charlie Chaplin, Lenin and the Rowan Atkinson character Mr Bean (from Mike O'Brien, Warwickshire North). Crawler of the year is Nigel Evans, the new Tory MP for Ribble Valley. His political hero is 'Whoever is going to be PM in the year 1998'.

PAUL JOHNSON, a veteran commentator, was writing in favour of legislation against media intrusion in yesterday's Daily Telegraph. 'Any ornithologist will tell you that some birds actually die if they are watched continuously.' Yes, but surely not a robust example of that magpie-like species, Minister for Fun?

A DAY LIKE THIS

22 July 1944 Ernst Junger, a German officer in occupied Paris, writes in his journal: 'I visited Picasso this afternoon. He lives in a huge building in the rue des Grands-Augustins, which appears in Balzac. A piece of paper stuck on a narrow door has the word 'Ici' written in blue crayon. When I rang, a short man in a plain smock opened the door - Picasso himself. I had met him briefly once before, and again had the impression of seeing a magician - on the previous occasion this had been reinforced by his wearing a little green pointed hat. Apart from the cramped living quarters and storerooms, his lodging consists of two huge studios: it looks as if he uses the lower one for sculpture, and the one above for painting. The place seemed very propitious for working: it had the fecundity of old studios, where time stands still.'

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