Every lame, sitting and dead duck will have its day

The sight of Tony Blair trotting along like Clinton's poodle makes the blood boil
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The Independent Culture
I HAVE received many letters on the subject of our bombing raids on Iraq, with an interesting range of viewpoints, and I have decided to print some of them here today.

From General Sir Nigel

Curmudgeon MC

Sir: Am I the only one who finds the spectacle of Tony Blair following in Bill Clinton's wake, rather like the little page boy following Good King Wenceslas, a bit nauseating? If we must try and settle Saddam's hash, surely we should not duck our responsibilities but have the courage to go in there and bomb the hell out of Baghdad without waiting for the Americans to join in? The sight of Tony Blair trotting along like Clinton's poodle is enough to make your blood boil.

Yours etc

From Mrs Noreen Dempster

Sir: As past president of the Poodle Society of Great Britain, I take great exception to the imputation of the preceding letter that a poodle is a weak-minded, copycat of a dog. The poodle is loyal, yes, but also independent, brave, intelligent and anything but a milksop. I do not know how the poodle ever got the reputation of being a lame duck, but I resent the way it has become a general Aunt Sally. Let us have an end to it - or at least make fun of some other dog for a while!

Yours etc

From Mrs Sally Wagstaff

Sir: Here we go again. I refer, of course, to the phrase used in the preceding letter, namely "Aunt Sally". I have gone through my life grinding my teeth with fury at the image of this name as some sort of sitting duck for general target practice. It is high time it ceased. I have had it up to here with people saying "Aunt Sally", which not only suggests that Sally is a silly name but also that all Sallys are aunty-ish. I am young and pretty so the phrase "Aunty Sally" makes me feel a bit schizophrenic sometimes.

Yours etc

From Mr Dick Norman

Sir: I cannot believe that someone who is so sensitive about her name can be so insensitive about the use of the word "schizophrenic". For heaven's sake, do people still think that "schizophrenic" means "having a split personality"? Schizophrenia is a complex mental state which takes various forms, but split personality is not one of them. Let me assure you that the old idea of schizophrenia is a dead duck.

Yours etc

From Dr Ben Salamander

Sir: I feel I cannot resist acting in my capacity as a keen ornithologist and pointing out that in every letter you have printed so far, there has been a calculated insult to my favourite bird, the duck. Duck responsibilities... lame duck... sitting duck...dead duck... All the old cliches have been trotted out - I am surprised that nobody has yet used "out for a duck" - and all at the expense of the good old duck. But why? The duck is a handsome creature. It is loyal, fiercely intelligent, faithful and obedient to its master, and also tastes jolly good in orange sauce. Let us have no more of this gubbins.

Yours etc

From Mr Solomon Gubbins

Sir: I have long ago given up trying to work out why the word "gubbins" is synonymous with "mess" or "dog's dinner". Nobody in this world has the surname Mess or Dog's-Dinner, but some of us are blessed with the name Gubbins and some of us are sick to death of this constant misuse of our monicker. Gubbins is a grand old Lincolnshire name meaning "gooseherd" or if it isn't, it jolly well should be, and if other Gubbinses are too lily-livered to stand up and defend their grand old name, then I am not.

Yours etc

From Mrs Lily Leadwell

Sir: I think you can probably guess why I am writing to you in white- hot fury. Yes, it's that word "lily-livered". Oh, Mr Gubbins may get hot under the collar when he hears the word "gubbins", and he is entitled, but for him then to utter the word "lily-livered" without qualms is beyond the pale. Why link the lily and cowardice? The lily is a not only a lovely flower but is also fiercely loyal, brave, intelligent and obedient. Let us have no more of this.

Yours etc

From Mrs Dora Williams

Sir, as my name suggests, I am Welsh, and one of the things I cannot abide is the use of the phrase "to welsh on someone". This phrase has not been used by anyone in any of these letters, but I thought I would write in and say this anyway. Call me over-sensitive if you like. Everyone else does.

Yours etc

Thanks for the letters. I am sorry I did not have space for more.

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