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Diary

Diary

Blair is pulling a Mugabe on the pesky little euro

16 August 2003

12:00 AM

16 August 2003

12:00 AM

I was sad to hear about the death of Bob Hope, although hitting 100 is a fabulous record – almost like batting 1,000. I worked with Bob several times on his television variety shows and once in a movie, Road to Hong Kong. In the four previous Road films with Bing Crosby, Dorothy Lamour had played the female lead but by Hong Kong she was deemed by the Hollywood hierarchy to be too old, so I was cast to play Bing’s love interest at almost 40 years his junior. Bing was taciturn and grumpy through most of the movie in stark comparison with Bob, who was a bundle of laughs all shooting-day long. Reportedly, one of the last jokes he made, two weeks before he died, was on his birthday. When asked, ‘How does it feel to be 100?’ he quipped, ‘Up until noon I don’t feel a thing, then it’s time for my nap.’ What a trouper – he’ll be missed.

So Blair is pulling a Mugabe and rigging the referendum on the euro. His plans to allow 700,000 non-citizens living in the UK (culled, no doubt, from the NHS bed waiting-list) to vote on whether or not we must have this pesky little currency are cynical to say the least. Since the French adopted the euro, the cost of running my house in the south of France has risen by almost 30 per cent. Indeed, everything has gone up so dramatically that one can only summon a Gallic shrug and mutter, ‘C’est la vie’ as the bill for two cafés au lait at Senequier comes to f10, when it used to be a couple of pounds not long ago. Groceries are much more expensive than in England. I was charged f8 (roughly £6) for six lemons at the St Tropez market, and this in a country where lemons are local produce. So watch out, Britain, for if this currency, which looks and feels like stage money, and with which I find it impossible to differentiate between a f1 coin, a 50 or 20 cent coin, comes storming our Bastille, things are going to get much more depressing than they already are. I’m on the committee of a group which demands a fair referendum, in the hope that the voice of Britain will be heard. Let us pray.

If the TV presenter John Leslie is to be believed, Ulrika Jonsson slept with him shortly after their first meeting and they continued an affair for several weeks. It seems heinous to me that six years later she accuses him in her book (though not by name) of brutally raping her and, furthermore, brushes aside the fact that they were in a relationship at the time. When I wrote my first autobiography, my agent, the redoubtable, legendary and rather terrifying Irving ‘Swifty’ Lazar, told me, ‘We don’t wanna know who you played opposite, we wanna know who you slept with. Sex sells, sweetheart.’ So I dutifully obeyed, named names (after all, we’re all grown-ups) and Past Imperfect became a bestseller. There was one alias in there, however, put in for the sake of protecting his marriage, but when pressed to reveal his name, and only after speaking to him about it, I ‘fessed up. I find it incomprehensible that Jonsson refused to either confirm or deny that Leslie raped her. And why wait years to report it? To get more book sales? Wasn’t the nasty Sven


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