Barometer

Sean O'Grady

Winner of the Week

Some lame duck Clinton turned out to be. Our winner this week is the leader of the free world. A distasteful judgement, maybe, but a legally accurate one all the same. In Osama bin Laden, Clinton found the best bogeyman since Ayatollah Khomeini. Foreign adventures have often done wonders for poll ratings since the days when Teddy Roosevelt spoke softly and carried a big stick. They could have sent special forces after Bin Laden to "take him out". But the dangers of the bungled commando raid are all too well remembered from Jimmy Carter's humiliating failure to rescue the hostages in Iran. Clinton has as sure a touch for tactics and public opinion as he has for White House interns. They don't call him "Slick Willy" for nothing.

Toy of the Week

Owners of the popular "Fondle Me" Bubba Bill Clinton doll might have had a good guess at this week's non-trouser action. When squeezed (below the waist) the leader of the toy free world will deliver lines like "oral sex is not adultery" and "baby you make my knees knock" and, prophetically, "I'll bomb Baghdad. I'll bomb France if you remove my underpants". Mind how you go.

Losers of the Week

The new generation of A-level law students, inspired by celebrity solicitors such as Kenneth Starr. They can't wait to grapple with concepts like truth, justice and manual sex. But their initial enthusiasms are soon thwarted by the disciplines of this most desiccated of subjects: 2,928 students, 27 per cent of the total, achieved a miserable U grade in their A-level, the worst fail rate of any subject. Perhaps they should reform the syllabus.

"Discuss the reasons why A-level students in law experience a failure rate five times that of those who study Welsh. Marks will be deducted from candidates who fail to stay awake during this paper. Your answers should be legally accurate but need not be complete."

Slimmer of the Week

Congratulations to Lord Hollick, who this week shed 22 stone of utterly useless fat (pictured) and saved himself pounds 2m into the bargain. The proprietor of Anglia Television said no to Vanessa Feltz's excessive financial demands to present her Oprah-style "people" show. Not for nothing did Anglia for decades bring us "now, from Norwich, it's the quiz of the week, it's Sale of the Century". For the two million quid Vanessa is said to have wanted, Anglia could get, in this week's instant sale, two Jeremy Paxmans, or four Trevor McDonalds, or 10 Kirsty Youngs or an unlimited supply of Nicholas Parsons. No contest.

Image of the Week

A Lady Boy of Bangkok at the Edinburgh Festival: sex tourist sideshow or performance art? Either way just remember that a return ticket to Scotland to see one is a lot cheaper than trying to get to Phuket.

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