Inside the system
Would you trust a roving royal?
IT'S NOT just royals Sophie and Edward who are under scrutiny. Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, is set for a job as a roving ambassador for British industry. He knows a lot about industry, of course, having spent the last 22 years in the navy.
Nevertheless, New Labour has appointed him as a new figurehead for the export industry. The main area of his brief will be the Middle East, an area where British firms do a lot of arms dealing. But New Labour people at the Foreign Office have had to give him a good warning. "There is no way that we will let British trade policy be determined by the location of the world's best golf courses," said a "ministerial source" last week.
Andrew is mad about golf, and his jetsetting lifestyle meant he was seen recently with a group of topless women on a luxury yacht in Thailand. However, Peter Mandelson rushed to his defence last week. He said Andrew "will have a very important role for which he is well qualified".
Andrew lives in a luxury house provided by the queen, and gets �37,000 a year from the navy on top of the �250,000 he gets from the privy purse.
Posh yobs run riot
DO YOU associate Oxford and Cambridge with rowdy yobs? Hotel owners in the south of France do. Rowing crews from Oxford and Cambridge have taken part in the annual regatta at Mandelieu-La Napoule near Cannes for years.
But now they have been banned because of their rowdy and drunken behaviour. Organisers say they cannot find a single hotel prepared to let them stay because of their drunken binges and trashing of rooms. "Their behaviour has been shameful," says a regatta organiser.
BRYAN Thistlethwaite, a Labour Party organiser in the northern region, is giving up his job before the general election. He's been made a better offer.
Thistlethwaite will take up a new post as political organiser for the Countryside Alliance.
Map of protest
IAN THOMAS, a respected map maker at the US Geological Survey, landed himself in hot water recently. He produced a small map of a remote corner of Alaska which included details about the calving habits of the caribou, North America's big reindeers. The project had not got any funding, but Thomas did the map and put in on the internet anyway. In no time at all he was sacked.
Unknown to him, the map showed the very area of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge which US president George Bush is to open up for exploration and exploitation by the big oil companies. Thomas has received over 2,000 messages of support via the internet.
Money to burn
INSIDE THE System reported last week how top investment bankers Credit Suisse First Boston have told staff to tighten their belts and spend no more than $10,000 a time on celebratory meals. The vice-president of a London stockbrokers is not taking notice of such belt tightening.
He dined, with one friend, in a posh restaurant on New York's Madison Avenue last week and spent a total of �17,440. Included in the bill was a bottle of wine for �837, followed by a second which cost �523. The food and drink combined came to just over �6,000. He ended the night by giving the waiter a tip of �11,232.35.
MARKS & Spencer may be "in crisis" and sacking thousands of workers, but executive chairman Luc Vandevelde is still on target to get a record bonus. The Financial Times says Vandevelde is set to get �810,000 in cash and shares.
Lessons in reaction
LYNNE CHENEY, the wife of US Republican vice-president and former oil industry boss Dick Cheney, was in London last week. She was in Britain to meet with education policy "experts" to discuss the lessons to be learned from the British education system.
Cheney declared, "The American and British education systems have suffered from overemphasis on progressive teaching methods." Surprise, surprise-amongst those she met was former Ofsted inspector Chris Woodhead, who now writes for the Daily Telegraph.
THE number of people killed during police car chases is still rising. Some 24 people died last year. That is nearly three times the number of three years ago. None of those who died were police officers.
Things they say
"GREED IS not a characteristic unknown in the British royal family."
- TONY BOOTH, Blair's father in law, on Sophie and Edward
"AT Westminster, the more you shut yourself off from your emotions and concentrate on 'looking after number one', the better you do... A part of me began to reject politics. Away from the intrigue and swaggering, who was I? I was compensating for my disenchantment with political life by joining glamorous clubs, drinking, sleeping around, taking ecstasy or coke every other weekend."
- DEREK DRAPER, former lobbyist and adviser to Peter Mandelson
"THE leadership are fully aware of latent racist feeling in the party, and they know that some people are planning to exploit it in the campaign. They are worried that Labour will capitalise on controversial outbursts by some of our candidates."
- TORY CANDIDATE
"RELATIONS cannot continue on the current basis. I hate on Easter morning to talk about retribution, but there's going to be retribution."
- ROBERT TORRICELLI, New Jersey's Democratic senator, on China
"MAYBE Bridget Jones is the illegitimate daughter of Germaine Greer. Think on that, sisters, and sigh."
- YASMIN ALIBHAI BROWN, writer
"EDUCATION is becoming a multi-billion pound global business opportunity. Businesses are not motivated by philanthropy, they are in it for profit. That profit must come from somewhere."
- JOHN ILLINGWORTH, president of the teachers' NUT union