News monkey: A simian slant on last week's news ...

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The Independent Online
t MONKEY NEWS. Allegations of torture and physical abuse always arouse deep feelings of indignation and outrage in the British. This week is no exception, although Pinochet, Milosevic, IRA punishment brigades and Yemeni interrogators have all had to queue up for their fair share of opprobrium behind convicted monkey spanker Mary Chipperfield. Now we are told the evil Chipperfield wants her monkey back so she can beat it some more, and the campaign to save little Trudy, the Primate of All England's Hearts is gearing up. News Monkey's own campaign will concentrate on raising funds to extradite Mary Chipperfield to Gibraltar.

t TORY PURGE. William Hague's sudden desire to get Michael Howard off the front benches comes just 20 months after most of Britain had the same idea, proving that he really is starting to get the hang of things. Unfortunately Hague's own popularity is at minus 28 per cent, a number which, while it may well be as meaningless as it sounds, is going to be a difficult statistic to massage. One could perhaps point out that Hague's unpopularity stands at a mere 28 per cent, or that his continued presence as Tory leader proves that politics is more than just a popularity contest. It's no use, but it helps to pass the time.

t CAMO BOY. The recent arrest of a camouflage-bedecked 10-year-old at a Barbados airport, apart from arming trivia buffs with the knowledge that wearing camouflage is against the law in Barbados, proves that Fashion Police, if properly trained, can provide a valuable public service. Arresting children for style crimes may seem a little Draconian, but how many of today's fashion victims might have been saved by a short sharp shock when they were young?

t CHARLES AND CAMILLA. Now that Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles have publicly proclaimed their undying devotion by standing next to each other, the way is clear for further rationalisation of their top secret 26-year affair. If progress continues at this rate we may witness their romantic wedding handshake before the decade is out.