Come the resolutions

Forget about making your own. It's much more fun telling other people what to do.
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One of my mother's annoying habits was to inform me, each 31 December, what my New Year resolutions should be. In vain would I point out that a resolution is, by its nature, a personal thing - an internal commitment to become a better human being in the future, not a prescription handed down from on high. She would explain that people never knew best about what needed improving in their lives. It takes someone else - some kind friend or relation perhaps - to point out that, if they resolved to eat less garlic or to cease using the word "bizarre" all the time, their life would be better and so would the lives of those around them. Your own commitment to stop drinking 120-proof St Lucian rum every morning is all well and good, but there may be something far more radical in your life that you should adopt or relinquish without delay, and you need an outsider's eye to tell you what it is. So here are some crucial New Year resolutions, offered gratis to the people who would most profit from them:

President Clinton must resolve to start having sex. The enormous fuss caused by his not having sex with various women has been more trouble than it's worth. He must try the Horizontal Position, the Taking Your Clothes Off Option and the Sleeping With Your Wife Initiative.

The Queen must try to be more accessible and democratic than in 1998. She must go on the National Lottery Draw as a guest button-presser (saying "Good luck everyone!" and jerking both thumbs aloft), she must join a Saga holiday to Lanzarote, acquire a taste for shish kebabs on Friday nights and sign up Max Clifford to sell the rights to her memoirs, Liz R with a Z.

Peter Mandelson must determine to go house-hunting somewhere that is more appropriate to his income bracket than Notting Hill. I'm told Catford and Lewisham have some quite nice mezzanine flats, which are reasonably handy for Greenwich.

David Beckham and Victoria Adams must resolve to cut off each other's excessively long and irritating fringes so that each can at last see what the other looks like.

George Michael must bring out a theme CD of novelty songs, including "Gee Officer Krupke", "The Laughing Policeman" and "Willie and the Hand Jive".

Prince Charles will resolve to get to Level 3 of the Play Station game Oddworld, with or without the help of his sons.

Tony Blair should resolve to become more interested in where his cabinet ministers get the cash to pay for their houses, their yachts, their Ozwald Boateng suits, their private jets, private armies and offshore companies.

Rupert Murdoch's resolution should be (and probably is) to become a Chinese citizen. With any luck, in doing so he will unexpectedly find himself involved in the North Beijing People's Cultural Collective, putting on an amateur production of Little Fong and the Paddy Field Drainage Operative for peasant audiences.

Nicole Kidman must resolve to do lots more theatre in London, in increasingly small and experimental venues, culminating in a one-woman production of Nell Dunn's Steaming in the shed at the end of my garden.

Stephen Byers, the Secretary of State at the Department of Trade and Industry, will resolve that this year, he will definitely crack the nine times table.

Will Carling must resolve to go out with some fat brunettes in the future, given the mess his life has become at the hands of a dozen identical slender blondes.

Emma Noble must undertake to get herself some underwear this year.

Lord Irvine of Lairg must try to get out more - Ron Davies must stay in more.

Paul Gascoigne must resolve to supplement his income by becoming Food and Drink Critic of The Big Issue.

Monica Lewinsky must also explore new career possibilities, now the internship is a goner and the memoirs will fail to deliver anything new. She must resolve to try her luck in advertisements. A chewing-gum commercial would be a good start.

Delia Smith must take up smoking. Her new series, Delia's Spring Surprise, should feature the great cook with a Marlboro Light dangling from the corner of her mouth as she demonstrates how to make boeuf en daube. The resulting nationwide rush to off-licences and tobacconists will be an important counter to the Government's anti-fags campaign.

Saddam Hussein must publicly resolve to be nicer to people in future, especially UN inspectors, or we will carpet-bomb his subjects' houses again.

Richard Branson must resolve to try for some other world record besides that of hot-air ballooning. The record for the longest period spent submerged in a bathyscape under the Pacific Ocean - invisible, and wholly out of contact with the terrestrial world - stands at 200 days, I believe. Just a thought.

Geoffrey Boycott must resolve to stop pronouncing "cricket" as "k'ikit", and making that extraordinary clicking noise in his throat.

Robbie Williams must make a firm undertaking never ever again to wear the see- through, frock-and-directoire-knickers outfit he wore on Top of the Pops last year while singing "Millennium".