From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Waterhouse deals with the Brits. We’re standing by our scoop last week that ubiquitous betting man Tom Waterhouse is close to a deal to sell his agency to a British firm. Today, The Australian Financial Review reports English bookmaker William Hill is “understood to be the frontrunner” to purchase fledgling online start-up Tomwaterhouse.com. Stay tuned …

ALP in the race for Perth. Secret Labor internal polling for the federal seat of Perth suggests possible star candidate Alannah MacTiernan could be in with a good shot of holding the seat to be vacated by the retiring Stephen Smith. Sources on the ground report that Labor has rebounded from 45/55 two-party preferred against the Liberals under Gillard to 48/52 after Rudd’s return and Smith’s retirement. Presumably the poll was taken without the expected bounce provided by MacTiernan’s strong name recognition — the popular Vincent mayor will make a decision on whether to throw her hat in the ring tomorrow. She told Crikey that the winnability of the seat — and government — was “of course” a big consideration. Game on.

Firefighters can’t hear message from US. Australian fire bureaucrats have banned an email commemorating the tragic deaths of 19 US firefighters in Arizona this week, claiming the condolence message was irrelevant. The United Firefighters Union, that boasts 13,300 members nationally, sends regular bulletins to firefighters through their work email addresses and on Monday dispatched an advisory email of “sympathy and support” to “those injured and to the families of those that have perished”.

But a brief response sent 90 minutes later by Melbourne-based Metropolitan Fire Brigade Director of Governance Blair Trask said the alert had been barred because it “does not relate to the business or operations” of the fire brigade. Australian fireries boast formal links with their US brothers through the International Association of Fire Fighters and regular undertake training and intelligence sharing exercises with global affiliates. On Monday afternoon, it is likely only some local firefighters would have been aware of the tragedy.

UFU national secretary Peter Marshall told Crikey today the “MFB should be holding its head in shame”. “I would have thought that a commemoration of the tragic deaths of 19 of our colleagues would have been enough to overcome that particular procedure,” he said.

An MFB spokesperson told Crikey that “we do allow the UFU to communicate to all of our staff via our email system but we have policies that we review for adherence and one of those principles is that it needs to relate to MFB’s business or operations.” But couldn’t an exception have been made in this case? “We’re certainly no saying it isn’t a tragic issue, what we are saying is that is not the channel for it,” they said. (Read the full story here).

What’s in a name. Yesterday Tips asked for your best efforts on spinners — those who work in PR, comms, advertising — with noteworthy names. Normally when we ask for this kind of thing, our readers dob in other people. But because we’re talking spinners, all sorts of PR types got in touch to dob in themselves. We’ve thrown in a few journo names, too …

Linda Louise Loose works in advertising. “I have been trying to live down (or live up to?) my name forever.”

Winsome Wild

Wendy Wild

John Pranger used to be the marketing manager at Honda

Golden Noble-Harris is the media adviser to outgoing ALP Senator Trish Crossin

Billy Gentle is the publicity co-ordinator at the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority

Jarrad Schwark handles media for NT MLA Alison Anderson. “Schwaarrkk!! is the call of one of the large parrots around Darwin, Bob Gosford might know,” reported our mole.

Fairfax used to have a journo called Will Wright

Slade Brockman is chief of staff to WA Liberal Senator Mathias Cormann. “He’s a good bloke, but his name sounds like he could be a chiselled heart-throb on Days of our Lives — ‘Oh Slade, Slade …’ (with camera on slow auto-zoom, etc)” says our dobber.

Hayden Cock and Howard Bull, Melbourne (we hear they are Melbourne PR people — is this true?)

Paris Lord (ex-spinner for Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young) was named-checked by us yesterday. He got back to us: “Thanks for the compliment on Tuesday. You’re very kind. When I was a journo in Hong Kong last decade I met a bloke called Dolphin Lau who was a PR flack for a mobile phone company.”

Dr King Roman is a frequent letter writer to the NT News

Now this is an editor you wouldn’t mess with — here’s his Twitter profile:

If you know of any well-named spinners, drop us a line. And if you enjoy an apt or amusing name (nominative determinism, the experts call it), check out our Crikey list from last October.

*Heard anything that might interest Crikey? Send your tips to [email protected] or use our guaranteed anonymous form

Peter Fray

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