Diary: No time to play top Trumps
It would now be fair to conclude that President Obama wasn't exaggerating when announcing he was "too busy" to be having to deal with the nonsense surrounding his birth certificate last week.
Bizarre-looking bruiser and possible presidential rival Donald Trump was widely credited with upping the stakes in the so-called "birther" controversy which led to a predictably peeved Obama having to appear on television following official confirmation he was born in Hawaii, rather than Africa or Indonesia as his enemies had hoped. "We do not have time for this kind of silliness," he announced. "We've got better stuff to do. I've got better stuff to do. We've got big problems to solve."
A big problem, indeed. For while even the President's most ardent critics would have had previously to concede that the bloke does have quite a lot on his plate at the best of times, such a declaration is given added weight now that we know he was privately planning to take out Osama bin Laden.
* The demise of Osama bin Laden ensures north London footballing giants Arsenal are at least one high-profile fan down as the season approaches its climax. Back in 2001, it was reported that the terrorist leader had become smitten with the Gunners in the 1990s when he was staying in Britain, and had even become something of a regular on the terraces.
Sensing a potentially tricky public relations operation ahead, Arsenal hastily let it be known that Osama could not expect the same kind of hospitality enjoyed by fellow celebrity fans, such as Alan Davies and Rory McGrath, and promptly banned him from the club's Highbury ground (which I'm sure came as a blow to Bin Laden).
While it was never clear whether the said ban extended to Arsenal's Emirates Stadium which was opened in 2006 (there were debts to pay off, after all, pity to turn away business) Osama was carefully airbrushed out of the club's history books. Still, he was said to have purchased an Arsenal shirt during one visit – although debate continues to rage over whether he opted to have Tony Adams or Dennis Bergkamp printed on the back.
* Yesterday's announcement that Bin Laden was "sleeping with the fishes" ensured the rolling news coverage that had greeted the death of national treasure and former boxer Sir Henry Cooper came to an abrupt halt. Indeed, some aggrieved fans who had been busy enjoying repeats of Cooper's Brut aftershave ads with Kevin Keegan were quick to suggest that "Our Enery" had suddenly become "Mother Teresa to Bin Laden's Princess Diana" – in reference to another regrettable overlap some years ago. In a similar vein, claims he was "Farrah Fawcett to Bin Laden's Michael Jackson" would have no doubt met with a trusty left hook from our old champ.
It came as little surprise yesterday that mistakes would rear their heads in even the most experienced of newsrooms. BBC and Sky viewers, as well as those of the right-wing US channel Fox News, were all informed at some stage that "Obama" had come a cropper. Suspicious types even suggested it was wishful thinking on Fox's part.
* As the long-planned Bin Laden Special draws to a close in today's column, we can return to more domestic matters. Admirers of Princess Diana would be quick to remind us that we've already had the "People's Princess" – while fans of snooker's original wild man Alex "Hurricane" Higgins would point out he was long known as the "People's Champion", in between accidentally head-butting the odd tournament official. Now the increasingly infirm Lord Sugar modestly tells the Radio Times: "I think of myself as the People's Peer." Trust me, Lord Sugar, you're so much more than that.
* Last week's announcement that I could soon be heading for pastures new, after applying for the post of communications director at News International, inevitably prompted a concerned response. I can now confirm that despite what I'm assured was "considerable interest" in the CV, my would-be employers have reluctantly chosen to look elsewhere, due to what's being described as my "clear lack of qualifications for the role". So for now at least, readers, I remain your humble servant. Onwards and upwards!
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