Pandora

A bad idea

While his Canterbury trial for "indecent behaviour" has been postponed until next month, Peter Tatchell and his gay rights' group Outrage! plan to distribute leaflets to the pupils of London Oratory School in Fulham this Wednesday. The Oratory is currently well-known for educating Euan Blair, son of the Prime Minister. In March, 14-year-old Euan was beaten up by some teenage thugs from another school. Now he will have to endure being handed a leaflet that asks "Are your teachers giving you the gay facts of life?" and includes pictures of kissing gay couples. Tatchell told one of Pandora's colleagues: "We're not interested in a particular pupil. I don't know what Euan looks like and have no intention of trying to speak to him." Thank goodness for that, but Tatchell's claim to have chosen London Oratory simply because it's a well-known school doesn't convince Pandora. Why else send its press release to The Independent's political correspondent if not seeking to exploit the PM's son for publicity? In the name of something like decency, leave the kid alone.

Bombs away!

Pandora knew there was a good reason to turn down that invitation to the Cannes Film Festival. According to a press release that arrived yesterday, "Thousand [sic] of copies of the European will be dropped on Cannes on Monday in Andrew Neil's single-handed assault on the hollow celebration." No doubt the glittering crowds are mobbing Nice airport this morning in a desperate effort to flee Andrew's deadening attack. But what if the Palestinians hear of this devastating tactic and start dropping the European on Jerusalem? On the other hand, ticketless English and Scottish fans might blanket World Cup matches with the European in France this summer.

Windsor not

Sartorial protest is rare in British politics, despite Gordon Brown's refusal to wear a dinner suit for his first Mansion House speech. But word comes of Rev Ian Paisley's new tie. Designed by his daughter, Rhonda, the neckwear features Union Jack colours, the Heart of Ulster and the fetching leitmotif "No", over and over again. While, reportedly, there is interest in retailing the tie, Pandora doubts if Paul Smith or Nermes are too concerned.

Taxis free

New York's taxis went on strike last week. Rather than cripple the city, the reaction was one of universal joy. Gotham's streets were suddenly emptied of gridlock for a day. "We've gotten, surprisingly, a large number of calls saying that this was one of the more pleasant days in a long time," Mayor Giuliani told the New York Post. Perhaps a London mayor could provoke similar industrial action?

Remarkable twit

One final report from Belfast, as Friday's referendum looms closer. After a delegation from South Africa's ANC, led by Cyril Ramaphosa, met with Sinn Fein prisoners in the Maze, they also talked to officials in the Northern Ireland Office. Asked what he thought of the South Africans, one Home Counties-type remarked: "It makes such a pleasant change to speak to people who speak English." Now, that's a remark that could unite all Irishmen.

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