News Monkey

THINGS TO DO IN DENVER. The National Rifle Association wanted to hold their convention in Denver, which they rightly thought was a gun kind of place. Now a scheduling conflict with a high school massacre has put the NRA and its chairman, Charlton Heston, in a tight spot. Fortunately they have a solution; the good news is that it involves even more guns. In a TV interview Mr Heston called for the arming of teachers, and helpfully suggested a comprehensive ban on trenchcoats in schools.

TORY PARTY. The Conservatives celebrated a big election victory last week, albeit one that happened in 1979. As part of the show, Margaret Thatcher and Edward Heath ended their 20-year feud by standing close to each other during a photocall. The question is, why? Neither could have any reason to stop hating the other, and one begins to suspect that at least one Madame Tussaud's-style effigy was used to achieve the effect. Later, Thatcher said some not quite unflattering things about Heath, which must have called for more hi-tech computer wizardry. They can do anything nowadays.

BIG FIVE ZERO. Nato looks set to commemorate 50 years of being the world's most butt-kickin' military alliance with nothing more than a quiet little ground war. There was no time for high fives at the big summit shindig in America this weekend, where all the talk was of what constitutes the sort of "semi-permissive" environment that Nato ground forces thrive in, and how many TV stations we have to bomb to achieve it.

WOODHEAD WITCH HUNT. You have to love Chris Woodhead. Okay, you don't have to, but it might help your final grade. Jokes like that might have been acceptable in a 1975 Bristol staff room, but this continual probing into the past of the Chief Inspector of Schools is nothing more than a witch hunt by his enemies. All he said was that relationships between teachers and sixth-formers could be "educative and experiential". He didn't say "and I oughta know".

MANDELSON LETTERS. Now that students are studying Earl Spencer's Diana eulogy, it's only a matter of time before they're given the correspondence of Peter Mandelson and Tony Blair. Schoolgirls in particular will relate to the melodrama of lines like "I felt greatly let down by you this morning, and embarrassed", and the letters remain an example of one basic rule of correspondence: Always Keep a Copy For Your Records.

PRINCE ON PORN. Last week Prince Philip spoke out against internet pornography. He may not seem uniquely qualified, but in this case it's probably a good thing that he has no idea what he's talking about - one hates to think where his research into the problem might have led him.

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