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PINOCHET STILL HERE. With Jack Straw's decision to let extradition proceed, the ongoing suffering of General Pinochet is almost too good to be true, although lounging around in a big house in Surrey is still a long way from having electrodes attached to your testicles. Even so, it will certainly seem like torture when he has to sit inside all summer while his staff lark about in the pool. And if he should get too comfortable with his exile in Surrey, we have other ways of making him suffer. Don't make us use Kent.

KITCHEN TABLE. A series of soap opera-style ads for the Tories may soon see William Hague's kitchen table ranking alongside Ronald McDonald and the Marlboro Man as one the most enduring advertising icons of the century. Mr Hague has astutely harnessed the kitchen table's symbolic power as the place where the family gathers to watch TV. Whether the voters will like the ads, or even watch them, is another matter. Perhaps the Tories would do better to sponsor Friends.

RADIO MARRIAGE SEPARATION. You don't have to be cynical to think that three months is not a bad run for a marriage between strangers organised by a radio station. Lots of conventionally married couples break up even sooner, and they don't have any lovely prizes to fight over. Everyone involved with the project, especially the relationship counsellors who helped to select the pair, has a right to be proud.

OPEN ALL NIGHT. The picture of New Year's Eve 1999 is now complete: total collapse of the UK's infrastructure and all services shut - except pubs, which will stay open for 36 hours straight. Perhaps a few touches are missing - the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse for one - but it sounds like an unmissable event. All the best bunkers are probably taken by now anyway.

JAIL TOO NICE. A report on a private prison in Humberside indicates that some prisoners asked to be moved to another jail, because the Group 4-run prison is too clean and the guards too polite. According to the report, many lags prefer a "proper jail" with its degree of "mutual antipathy". Michael Howard always said that prison should be a punishment, not a holiday camp. Little did he know it could be both.

SHREDDED SQUIRRELS. Putting a live squirrel into a shredder is the sort of thing you'd expect of budding serial killers, but it's standard procedure at KLM airlines. Last Monday 440 illegally exported squirrels were shredded alive at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport. Despite an apology, KLM maintained it had little choice. Apparently the acid bath was already full of kittens, and the steamroller was being serviced.

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