Banks' Notes 19.05.06

WHENEVER I read the kind of intro that gushes: "A crack team of elite cops raced to protect…", my cruelly damning powers of total recall conjure up an image of Kelvin MacKenzie praying at the shrine of Our Blessed Lady of Scamboli.

Our Blessed Lady was a hideous brass ornament before which he would prostrate himself in the New York Post newsroom whenever splashes were in short supply.

Amazingly, it always worked: Killer Bees [would] Head Our Way… Headless Body [would be found] In Topless Bar… Rupert's luckiest general could always work the trick.

Of course, not for nothing was she called Our Lady of Scam-boli — none of her Great Truths existed much beyond the five-word, 240pt splash head. The bees lost interest in terrorising New York and disappeared into the Midwest, the headless body was never identified (no teeth, no fingers).

Now the News of the World is trying to pull the same stunt.

Again! Impatient for a follow-up to the Beckham kidnap fiasco six years ago, they've discovered a plot to kidnap Jordan, her husband Lebanon and the children Syria and Egypt (or somesuch).

Sorry, Andy Coulson & Co: Our Blessed Lady only works for Kelvin. But at least you won't hear Jordan moaning to the Press Complaints Commission about breach of privacy!

WE WUZ robbed, all those of us who bought The Independent's RED issue last Tuesday. Bono's Indy wasn't the paper I rather admire and enjoy. It preached at me and force-fed me guilt dressed up as a gimmick.

I'm all in favour of newspapers chipping in half of their day's takings to fight AIDS in Africa as long as in order to donate THEIR hard-earned pennies they don't screw up MY access to the news.

And as far as charitable contributions go, I'll make my own choices, thank you.

Single-issue editions of the Indy can be stodgy enough, without help from Bono, Condoleezza Rice and Stella McCartney. I won't be caught out again by one of Simon Kelner's away-days.

WE'VE ALL said it, haven't we? "Look, I'm going to give you a pay rise, but don't for God's sake tell anyone what you're getting!"

No wonder the Beeb was apoplectic when word of DJ Chris Moyles' £630,000 wedge and Jonathan Ross trousering £530,000 was leaked to The Sun.

Serves 'em right! Maybe Aunty will think twice before recruiting hundreds of work-experience wannabes and low-paid agency temps who will snitch their secrets to the tabloids for a few quid, instead of paying the proper rate to fully-qualified staffers.

Anyway, fellow licence fee-payers, why shouldn't we know where the public corporation's multi-millions are spent?

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