The edge - Amanda Platell hails Kate Moss, Tory pin-up

Next, the Tories will be hailing (or should that be inhaling?) Kate Moss as the modern-day answer to

When David Cameron said the Tory leadership contest would allow the party to discuss the issues that really matter, none of us thought the recreational use of cocaine would be among them. Far from the drugs question being a plot by the right, as suggested by Cameron's supporters, it was first asked of him by Andrew Rawnsley (new Labour), and the issue of cocaine cunningly introduced by Ken Clarke. Neither man has ever been accused of being to the right of anything.

So instead of talking about compassionate conservatism, flat tax, Europe or reform of the public services, we have been concentrating our attentions on an illegal white substance. And meanwhile the government slips a raft of legislation under the distracted gaze of the opposition. But then, who cares about ID cards, the new schools white paper, the use of evidence gained under torture, Stephen Byers lying (sorry, making an "inadvertent error") over Railtrack, or the threat of bird flu anyway?

Reading the polls and listening to the noises off, you could be forgiven for thinking a love of cocaine is as commonplace as tax cuts for your average Tory these days. Or are they just so desperate to get back into power that they are prepared to turn a blind eye to anything? This was a chance for an honest party to conduct an honest debate, and so far it has failed. Next they'll be hailing - or should that be inhaling - Kate Moss as the modern-day answer to Margaret Thatcher.

A survey of highly qualified young businesswomen by the Cranfield School of Management places the singer Kylie Minogue above Superwoman Nicola Horlick as entrepreneurial role model. It seems the women find Ms Horlick's achievements far removed from their lives, though the "soap star-turned-pop star with lucrative lingerie line" path is hardly, I would have thought, the stuff of most educated women's dreams.

With her heart always on her sleeve and her recent battle with breast cancer, Kylie has a touch of Everywoman about her. Frantic Horlick has managed a large family, a very public divorce, and now the glitzy launch of yet another company, this time directed at wealthy women.

It appears that businesswomen seeking their fortune prefer the work-life balance offered by Kylie's career to Horlick's.

If ever we wanted an explanation of that most modern phenomenon, the emergence of the toyboy, we need look no further than the glorious Emma Thompson, 46. While married to Kenneth Branagh (half-man, half-ego), Emma was almost as frumpy as the Nanny McPhee she plays in her latest film. And you got the feeling that was just the way he liked her, before he left. Now a mother and together with her 39-year-old husband of two years, Greg Wise, she looks sensational. As Tony Parsons would have said, her life is her revenge.

David and Victoria Beckham have finally done what disbelievers in the Perfect Marriage have taunted them with for years, and are suing a newspaper for defamation. The case is a narrow one, challenging claims by the News of the World that they presented a false image of their relationship to the public in order to protect Brand Beckham. Alas, no lawsuits against Rebecca Loos or the other women who claim to have had affairs with Beckham. I would have had a lot more respect for them if they'd simply sued to clear his name.

The BBC is bracing itself for another row, over the ten-part series Rome, which features scenes of such depravity, it needs to get the worst of the publicity out now, weeks before the show starts. It will be screened on BBC2 immediately after the 9pm watershed when, as we

know, kids are seldom in bed.

Polly Walker, who plays Atia, Caesar's scheming and usually naked niece, says she is embarrassed about the violent sex scenes, the nudity, the bloody crucifixions and brutal stabbings, and is worried what her teenage son will make of it all. Not half as worried as the other parents in the country.

This article first appeared in the 24 October 2005 issue of the New Statesman, The debt pandemic