Tales Out Of School: Strange Stories From The Global Classroom

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The Independent Online
Some mistake, surely? It seems that disaster follows William Hague no matter what he tries to do or say. The Leader of the Opposition is having great difficulty in spreading the gospel of "common sense" to the nation's students. For weeks now, he has been writing "exclusively" in student newspapers telling the desperately uninterested about his fight to keep sterling. The article actually appears almost word-for-word in a number of student papers: Student Direct (Manchester) and Leeds Student to name but two.

In his oratory, Mr Hague speaks of Tony Blair's "obsession with scrapping the pound", and pledges that "the Conservative Government elected at the next general election will keep the pound". He concludes by proclaiming: "The Battle for the pound, the Battle for Britain, starts here."

However, his latest "exclusive" article for a student newspaper - Liverpool Student - has gone horribly wrong. It seems the thrust of his argument went awry as it emailed its way across the ether. It begins: "The pound in your pocket is under threat from the German pigdogs in Brussels. And don't get me started on those Frenchies. Our beef is completely safe, I eat at least three cow pies every day and look at me."

In this unfortunate article, he concludes: "It is a recognised fact that 44 per cent of people have no idea who the hell I am. The Battle for the Yorkshire Pudding, the Battle for Britain, starts here." Who knows what went wrong? Will he ever offer a piece to Liverpool Student again? Probably not

Spot the con: A study published by Melbourne University will make the hearts of every spotty schoolboy sink. Robin Marks, Professor of Dermatology, says that half the products on sale to battle acne are either completely useless or make the disease even worse. His research is published under the title "The Atlas of Common Skin Diseases in Australia" and is the result of five years of interviewing and examinations of 6,000 people.

Professor Marks claims that more than 60 per cent of Aussie adults have had a skin disease in the past six months, with 10 per cent having had full-blown acne.

About 50 per cent of teenagers with moderate or severe acne were using products such as hypo-allergenic cosmetics which were "absolutely worthless" in terms of curing the problem. Maybe they should try an appearance in Neighbours. I don't remember ever seeing a spot on any of those fresh- faced scamps.

Doctor of positivity: A pensioner who left school unable to read or write has been awarded a PhD from Sheffield Hallam University. Jack Ward, 75, from Worksop has been dyslexic all his life and was branded a "dunce" at school. However, he was taught to read and write by his wife, Audrey, and went on to attend night school. After working at the Government's Property Services Agency, he carried on his academic studies - even after a stroke.

He is now basking in his achievement after carrying out research into heat pumps at the school of engineering. After his graduation ceremony he offered his secret: "If you're doing something positive and, hopefully, of benefit to others, you can just keep going."

Chris Brown c.brown@independent.co.uk