Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Under the influence

How many influential people can there be in a city like London? If you'd asked me before yesterday, I'd have said about half a dozen tops. But having attended a posh do at the Design Museum hosted by the Evening Standard, I now understand the number to be 1,000 and the list to include luminaries such as metabolic detox guru Nish Joshi and aged revolutionary Vanessa Redgrave.

Smuggled into the event by an influential friend, I was served bubbly and salted asparagus tips and was able to shake hands with Tory mayoral hopeful Boris Johnson, who had a couple of minders in attendance in case he encountered any Liverpudlian gatecrashers. The museum was full of folk who would, under normal circumstances, be waiting in the Newsnight green room. Columnist Melanie Philips, for instance. Michael White of The Guardian. And that bleeding-heart lady from Liberty who thinks we've got a bit too tough in the war on terror.

The attendance of former Tory cabinet minister Peter Lilley suggests that the timescales for influence are somewhat fluid. I think he was indeed influential, but it was for a short period during 1993.

For some strange reason, I haven't yet been able to locate myself in the glossy brochure that was handed out to accompany the launch. Perhaps there's been an administrative oversight? I'll have another flick at lunch.

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