ALASTAIR CAMPBELL, the Prime Minister's press chief, lives a Spartan life at Downing Street and turns down scores of lunch invites. Indeed Pandora believes that he has lunched with only one journalist since the election. That was with Kelvin McKenzie of Mirror Group and was clearly a great success for the Government. After hiring Paul Routledge as its chief political commentator last week, the Mirror headlined his debut with: "Achtung! Alastair ... He's Coming Your Way Soon!" But presumably not for a meal.
Dole is up
THINGS are looking up for the former American Vice-President Bob Dole, who failed dismally to unseat Bill Clinton in the last US election. American newspapers have reported that Dole was an early test recipient of Viagra, the male sexual wonder drug. Speaking a few days ago in Washington at the 22nd reunion of Gerald Ford's White House team, Dole told the former President: "There's an old saying - you're as young as you feel. And if you have any doubt about it, I have a great drug I can recommend."
ONE of the many claims of the Millennium Dome planners has been that it will be a "car-free site". Residents of the Borough of Greenwich have been assured that they won't be locked into a hellish traffic grid-lock. The new Jubilee Line is being pushed to complete by the Dome's opening day and there has been endless utopian hype about turning the River Thames into a "highway" for visitors to "cruise".
How intriguing, then, to read Peter Mandelson's detailed written answer to Tory MP Norman Baker's question about parking at the Dome. It seems there will be 247 parking spaces for VIPs. As Pandora's Canary Wharf office overlooks Mandy's folly, it will be interesting to see how many ministers' cars find their way into those VIP slots. In other words, watch this space.
IS SOMEBODY trying to finish off Tory MP David Faber's career once and for all? First he was sacked as Tory shadow Foreign Office spokesman on "the rest of the world" in William Hague's reshuffle. Yesterday, if that wasn't dire enough, an anonymous "press release" mysteriously found its way to the hacks at Westminster. Purporting to be a defence of Faber, it includes such hapless lines as "He is certainly no worse than many others on the front bench and recently had been performing well..."
It went on to make the ludicrous suggestion that Faber could have been sacked because his name was found in the visitor's book of a "PR girl" whom Hague supposedly fancied some years ago. Unfortunately, there were some hacks who concluded that this "release" had been written by Faber himself. When Pandora rang Faber and asked him point-blank if this was so, his denial was unyielding. "No, no, no. You must be joking. I haven't said a word."
SARA LEE, the Chicago-based frozen pastry corporation whose products are widely sold in Britain, yesterday announced its donation of 40 modern paintings worth $100m to various US museums. Foremost among the works is a Matisse called Lemons on a Pewter Plate. Pandora is thinking of commissioning Damien Hirst to do a copy called Lemon Cheesecake in Formaldehyde Syrup.