Axe Grinder 21.07.06

Water relief — Beeb clarifies pissing policy

THEY haven't seen anything like it since the Hutton Inquiry. BBC execs are trying to identify the employee who urinated into a latex glove and then left the ballooned garment in a Beeb car.

A stern email — entitled Conduct in the Radio Cars. Importance: High — has been sent out to suspects at TV Centre. The missive, written by the co-ordinator of Radio News Operations (name unknown), has been leaked, so to speak, to Axegrinder and is published beneath in its glorious entirety. Nip to the loo, then settle back with a glass of Pinot and read on…

This is not a pleasant email I am having to send, but this is being taken very seriously as not only a health and safety issue, but also as regards common decency and respect for your colleagues. We realise that other people have access to the radio cars other than ourselves, but the likelihood is that it is a radio car operator considering what was found. Somebody has obviously been caught short and relieved themselves into a latex glove which was found in the drivers side door map slot by another radio car operator.

This person had the awful task of having to dispose of the item and is under no illusion as to what its contents were.

There is absolutely no excuse for this type of behaviour which is totally unacceptable and vile, and could well be grounds for a disciplinary based on personal conduct by a member of staff. If you are out, as often can happen for hours at a time or in a remote location — yes it can be difficult finding toilet facilities — but you do not under any circumstances whatsoever relieve yourself in the vehicle, even if you intend to dispose of the container you have done it in.

Axegrinder tries to chat about this with the sender of the email. A man called "Nick" who works alongside her says: "She's not here… can you tell me where you first heard about it… I'm just wondering why people think this is an interesting thing to talk to the press about… I'll pass on your number, but if you don't hear from her she's probably too busy… I don't want her to feel she has to reply to everyone in the press who rings her up."

White just can't let go of political patch

THE GUARDIAN'S former political editor Michael White is causing surprise at Westminster by continuing to swagger around the place as though he is still pol ed.

Of White's successor, Patrick Wintour, a mischievous source says: "He has barely emerged from his sleeping bag." I find that hard to believe, although politicians at press conferences still treat White as though he's pol ed.

And it is White who keeps appearing on things such as Sky and News 24 — not least because Wintour is not much of a TV performer (his eyes keep shifting from side to side, making him resemble Denis Nilson).

There is speculation as to whether or not White will big-foot Wintour at the party conferences. Will he attend them?

Derby paper shopped for scoop neglect

WELL done to Times political editor Phil Webster for securing Margaret Beckett's "first interview" as Foreign Secretary. But he was only able to call it that thanks to a curious sense of news values at Beckett's local paper, the Derby Evening Telegraph.

Its man in Westminster, David Byers, managed to get a sit-down with Beckett just after she landed the big job.

He duly wrote it up and filed it for his desk in Derby. Sadly, they were more interested that day in Beckett's wardrobe, so ran a big spread on the new Foreign Secretary's shopping habits, leaving Byers' interview to languish on the spike.

Isn't a provincial man's beat hard enough without this sort of reaction to his scoops?

Why pay Patsy when she'll do it for free?

INTRIGUING business acumen being displayed by Louise Oswald, editor of the News of the World's supplement, Sunday magazine.

She's devised a strategy of offering huge sums of cash to celebrities in return for an interview. The plan is to get the showbiz world opening up to Sunday, rather than Hello! or OK!.

I learn that Patsy Kensit was recently paid a flattering £25,000 for an interview.

The piece was written up and scheduled. Oswald thought she had the cat in the bag.

Imagine her horror last week when she picked up a copy of the Screws' sister paper, The Sun, and saw Kensit telling all to TV editor Sara Nathan.

Kensit had not been gagged by Sunday so she'll pocket the cash, regardless.

And how much had The Sun paid for their exclusive? Zilch.

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