Leading Article: Spirit of the age

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The Independent Culture
IF ONLY London were Paris, Lord Archer, Glenda Jackson and our very own Ken Livingstone would have an added reason for seeking the mayoralty. For they would then get to choose whose bust should grace the civic offices of the towns across the country.

In France, the bust of Marianne, spirit of the Republic, has to be female. And, since this is modern France, it now has to represent modern civic values, not just celebrity faces such as Brigitte Bardot and Catherine Deneuve, previous models for the sculpture.

Of course, we wouldn't be so sexist here. We would insist that the list included someone over 50, a representative of the ethnic minorities and, obviously, a successful man as well as a mature actress. So this would leave us with a shortlist of three names: Glenda Jackson, Ken Livingstone and Trevor Phillips. Quelle horreur!