NEWS MONKEY

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The Independent Online
THE PUBLIC SECTOR. In the bygone days of last week, the public sector worker was either a public hero or public enemy number one, depending on whether you were Old or New Labour. Now, thanks to the magical Third Way, he's both, as Tony Blair and John Prescott agree to disagree with robotic ease, insisting that when John said the public sector was good and Tony said it was bad, they were in effect saying the same thing. Once you've grasped this Third Way philosophy, the policy is obvious: to value and support the public sector worker until he's wiped from the face of the Earth.

JAGGER MARRIAGE VANISHES. The eight-year marriage of Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall never happened, and Jerry Hall has received an estimated pounds 10m by way of compensation for any misunderstanding caused by their 1991 pretend wedding. Following the annulment - a triumphant bit of Third Way thinking - Jagger and Hall will remain friends, although one imagines it could be difficult for Mr Jagger to be friendly with someone who has pounds 10m that used to be his.

THATCHER SPEAKS. Baroness Thatcher dropped by the House of Lords last week to give a little talk about that nice Mr Pinochet from Wentworth. You know - the very distinguished foreign gentleman with the lovely manners who ordered the kidnapping, torture and murder of thousands of people following his 1973 military coup against the Chilean government. Her loyalty is impressive, but you have to wonder whether Pinochet really wants her on his side any more. Fellow Pinochet hanger-on Lord Lamont is outraged that the taxpayer will be liable for pounds 4m in legal costs, but it's safe to assume that Mick Jagger thinks we're getting off lightly.

LIZZIE DROPS BY. Pictures which appeared to show the Queen being held hostage by working class people turned out to be misleading. It seems she was free to go at any time, and the interrogation was part of a campaign to make Her Majesty seem in touch with ordinary folk. From now on she has decided to travel with only one lady-in-waiting, just like the rest of us, and only five limousines. This gruelling campaign seems unnecessary, since the same effect could be achieved with a life-size cardboard cut- out.

CARD-CARRYING RACISTS. One never thought the problem of racists becoming organ donors would arise. This selfless act seems at odds with bone- headed bigotry. It's clear, however, that a few whites-only kidneys are handed in now and then, and the real scandal is that due to shortages doctors can't turn them down. Of course, the process of tissue-typing means that white organs generally go to white people anyway, a fact which, now it's more widely known, may lead to more racists' donations.

TIM DOWLING

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