Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Londoner's Diary

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Londoner's Diary

Article excerpt

What a load of piffle

BORIS JOHNSON's robust denial of infidelity allegations as "an inverted pyramid of piffle" was the phrase that caused him to be sacked by Tory leader Michael Howard.

As I disclosed the phrase is being considered for inclusion in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. But at least some of the credit should go to the late Sir Kingsley Amis.

Back in 1999, Boris wrote in his Telegraph column about the Phillips inquiry into BSE: "This inquiry, whose field of study stretches from 1986 to 1996, is what Kingsley Amis would have called an inverted pyramid of piss, resting on an assumption that the science does not back up."

The original reference comes from a letter Amis sent to Philip Larkin. If only Boris had used a less extravagant phrase he might still be Shadow Arts Minister.

But then Amis senior wanted to scrap all Government involvement in the arts anyway.

Oliver's Army

MIXED NEWS for Jamie Oliver. This morning's set of bad trading results for Sainsbury's won't have helped his chances of extending his lucrative advertising contract with the supermarket giant.

But I hear the Naked Chef has been busy elsewhere, making a new TV series called Jamie's School Dinners.

Oliver's show has set itself the ambitious task of converting all the primary and secondary school children of Greenwich to the joys of freshly cooked food and healthy eating.

Such is the scale of the challenge - some 60 schools - that producers have called in the help of the Army, no less, to retrain 50 school dinner cooks in field-style kitchens over three days. Sounds like Sainsbury's could do with some militarystyle support too.

Benn bends the rules

UNDER ENGLISH Heritage rules blue plaques dedicated to famous public figures can only be put up on houses 20 years after their death.

Tony Benn's wife Caroline, who died in 2000, does not yet qualify but the former Labour minister has put up a plaque in her honour outside their Holland Park home. …

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