Londoner’s Diary: ‘No regrets on Mary Wollstonecraft statue... we wanted a debate’

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Maggi Hambling’s ‘A Sculpture For Mary Wollstonecraft’  (PA)
Maggi Hambling’s ‘A Sculpture For Mary Wollstonecraft’ (PA)

ORGANISERS behind a statue inspired by proto-feminist Mary Wollstonecraft have told The Londoner they have “no regrets” about the furore as they release a book on the subject.

Anna Birch, of the Mary on the Green campaign group, said she had expected controversy around the statue on Newington Green, which depicts one naked female form emerging from another. “We wanted to be noticed and we certainly did that,” she said. Mary on the Green have collaborated on a new book to help other campaign groups “learn from our experience”. The book notes that many confused the figurative statue for a depiction of the writer herself, and had “asked if Wollstonecraft really had such small breasts”.

Birch said “dissenter” Maggi Hambling was the right artist for the piece. “The more attention attracted to Wollstonecraft the better,” Birch said, and “the more memorials to women the better”.

GB News? No way, says Boulton

Adam Boulton (Getty Images)
Adam Boulton (Getty Images)

ADAM BOULTON, the outgoing Sky News editor-at-large, isn’t sure what he’ll do after he leaves. “More writing, more broadcasting,” he told us last night at the launch of Iain Dale’s The Presidents. Boulton wrote a chapter on Warren Harding, “the worst and the horniest American president”. But he was sure about one thing. He won’t be joining GB News. “I’m generally not interested in my own opinion,” he said coolly, adding: “That’s what proper journalism is, instead of just sitting there bloviating.”

Barriers come down on the Hill

Sir Keir Starmer (Getty Images)
Sir Keir Starmer (Getty Images)

PRIMROSE HILLIANS, prepare for noise — the barriers that went up to stop antisocial behaviour are coming down, the Royal Parks have announced. Sir Keir Starmer, the local MP (and Labour leader), supported the barriers being erected in April last year after partygoers congregated on Primrose Hill late at night. A Parks spokesperson said they were able to remove them because of a reduction in antisocial behaviour. But will residents stay happy for long?

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Leomie Anderson, Bree Runway and Neelam Gill (Dave Benett)
Leomie Anderson, Bree Runway and Neelam Gill (Dave Benett)

MODELS Leomie Anderson, Sophia Hadjipanteli and Neelam Gill dined with musician Bree Runway at Covent Garden’s NoMad Hotel to celebrate Valentino make-up last night. Actor Rafferty Law was also at NoMad for a GQ party. In Chelsea, Sofia Blunt launched a Loci vegan trainer at husband James’s pub the Fox & Pheasant. And singer Ellie Goulding celebrated the forthcoming 60th anniversary of Bond at Piccadilly’s Burlington Arcade.

Ellie Goulding (Dave Benett)
Ellie Goulding (Dave Benett)

SW1A

ROBERT BUCKLAND has half an eye on reality TV after being reshuffled out of the Cabinet. But he told us at a book launch last night that it’s Strictly for him, not I’m a Celebrity like Nadine Dorries. “She ate all sorts of unspeakable things on her inexorable rise to Cabinet. The greasy pole is very odd,” he shuddered.

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BORIS JOHNSON is struggling — and writer Jonathan Meades isn’t here to help. “A cruel mendacious antinomian narcissist, an aspirant dictator who revels in destruction (judicial powers, free speech, constitutional safeguards) having learnt the joys of destruction and ostentatious oafishness at, astonishingly, a seat of “learning”. The oaf’s only creation is a shivering, starving bedlam hidden by a policy of coarse populism, formerly trading as bread and circuses.” he thunders in The Critic. No need to sit on the fence.

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