Paper round

SmithInstitutegate, the saga of the charity think tank that enjoyed the hospitality at 11 Downing Street, is showing serious signs of damaging our Gordon's prime ministerial ambitions.

While the Tory press scurries around searching for more examples of the institute's fondness for New Labour, the Charity Commission is getting nasty. According to The Daily Telegraph, it has formally warned political blogger Paul Staines that if he doesn't surrender documents relating to the case he could be jailed.

For the Chancellor, the affair is a lesson in being careful what you wish for. Back in November, he told the commission it should comb the entire register of charities for evidence of "dubious charities". Brown had terrorism in mind, but perhaps the commission is looking for a different kind of dubious.

Pride is a terrible thing and especially inadvisable if you're stranded a few miles from the Antarctic coast in sub-zero temperatures. But the crew of a Japanese whaling ship, drifting helplessly after an on-board fire, are refusing the offer of a tow from another ship that received their mayday signal - because that ship happens to belong to Greenpeace.

There are fears that oil from the ship could endanger the world's largest Adelie penguin colony 100 miles away, and a Greenpeace spokeswoman urged Japan to accept its offer. She told BBC News that this was "no time to play politics from behind a desk in Tokyo". Hard luck penguins; I hope you understand.

Crap excuses of our time: according to the Lancashire Evening Telegraph, the ringleader of a gang of four women caught stealing £1,200 worth of clothes from Marks & Spencer in Blackburn told the town's magistrates that it was all right because she thought it was a charity shop.

She said it

'The public have noticed the money they give to a lot of charities goes into advertising and to pay their staff' - Natasha Bedingfield, singer, in The Observer.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in