Lord Bell tells me he boycotted the millennium celebrations, in
protest at their being ’hijacked’ by the Labour Party. He spent new
year’s eve sheltering in Sydney with his Australian wife, Virginia.
’I find all of that attempt to own it rather offensive,’ says Margaret
Thatcher’s favourite PR man.
’It isn’t 2000 years of Tony Blair.’
Bell says the best present he can think of is not to invite anyone to
the Millennium Dome in the coming months. Nor is he particularly
enamoured with the year 2000. ’I’ve never had that much interest in new
year’s eve and I saw no special reason to celebrate this one just
because it had lots of noughts attached to it,’ he grumbles.
By contrast, Shandwick founder Lord Chadlington threw himself into the
London festivities by taking a party of six adults and no fewer than 44
children to see the fireworks. The party had dinner and then were
marshalled across the city to watch the spectacle from the office of one
of Shandwick’s shareholders.
However, before you start shouting ’bah, humbug!’ at Bell, at least he
and his team at Chime did donate the last hour of their 1999 salaries to
the Children’s Promise fund-raising campaign.