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The Independent Culture
Winners of the Week

A little hope for those who have to live on one of the 4,000 or so officially poor housing estates which, Mr Blair said, "shame us a nation".

Tony went on: "Our goal is simple: it is to bridge the gap between the poorest and the rest of Britain. Bridging that gap will not be easy. It will require imagination, persistence and commitment." It will also need lots of explosives, some detonators and men in hard hats to blow these modernist slums into history. Time for Tony's favourite creed, communitarianism, to get muscular.

Losers of the Week

Beardom. Grizzlies are close to being hunted into extinction in America, where just 3,000 survive. Further north, pollution is turning 4 per cent of polar bears into hermaphrodites. And all they ask for are the bear necessities of life.

Not inconsiderable legal bill of the week

John Major was charged pounds 400,000 by lawyers Boodle Hatfield for advice given to him as legal guardian to Princes William and Harry. The bill will be paid by Prince Charles. But think what the cash could have bought for the royal collections at auction houses this week; Ginger Spice's Union Jack frock (pounds 41,320) and Oddjob's bowler hat, as featured in the Bond film Goldfinger, (pounds 62,000) and the original lyrics for the Beatles' "Hey Jude" (pounds 100,000) and Scott of the Antarctic's candle lamp (pounds 3,000). Shame, that.

Image of the Week

Or the Unacceptable Face of Socialism. John "crowd pleaser" Edmonds. Not sure what he effect he has on "greedy bastard" bosses but he frightens my dog.

Subversive of the Week

The FBI thought that Groucho Marx was a subversive. He was.

Footnote of the week

Like Groucho, Bill Clinton is another American who can manipulate the English language to humorous effect. Note 109 of the Starr Report provides some Clinton lines worthy of Rufus T Firefly (Groucho's shyster lawyer):

"It depends on what the meaning of the word `is' is"

"I have not had sex with her as I defined it."

"It depends on what you mean by alone... There were a lot of times when we were alone, but I never really thought we were."

As Groucho once said: "These are my principles. If you don't like them, I have others."

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