Hit & Run: A taste for winning

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The Independent Online

It would take a brave man to bet against Lance Armstrong achieving his stated ambition of becoming governor of Texas in around five years' time. You might even be tempted to have a punt on the seven-times Tour de France champion tackling the big one some time after that.

It's slightly odd that more sportsmen and women haven't been crossover hits on the hustings. The list is short: there's Lord Coe, Our Man in Stratford; Imran Khan remains the only member of the political party he founded to serve in Pakistan's parliament; and the swimmer Dawn Fraser is an MP in Australia. Then there's a couple of boxers: Manny Pacquiao, who recently banjaxed Ricky Hatton and has been tipped as a future president of the Phillipines; and Alexis Arguello, who became mayor of Managua last year but died last week with what appeared to be self-inflicted gunshot wounds.

Yet there's a definite skills match between sport and politics. They both require the same tunnel vision, the same step-by-step approach to world domination – "I'm taking each election as it comes, Brian" – the same acknowledgement that teamwork is paramount (even athletes in individual sports have backing bands: look at the size of Team Murray).

Someone like Sir Alex Ferguson, a staunch Labour supporter, would surely be an electoral shoo-in, unless the Party apparatchiks made the mistake of giving him a Liverpool seat to fight; while on the other side of the House he could be confronted by another sporting knight, Ian Botham, Tory to the bone and enough of a national treasure to deflect any awkward questions about his champagne and cigar expenses. It's probably all about timing: Freddie Flintoff or Kevin Pietersen would have enjoyed landslides if they'd gone into politics in the wake of the 2005 Ashes victory; but not if they'd waited until after the whitewash Down Under 17 months later. And had Andy Murray won Wimbledon this year, he could have had his pick of seats at Westminster or Holyrood. Some day, maybe...

So who would we like to see make the leap from sport into politics? Two former alumni of Sir Alex's could make the grade: Roy Keane would surely go down a storm in the Dail, while Eric Cantona would tower over Nicolas Sarkozy, both physically and politically. In this country, we shall just have to hope that Bernie Ecclestone, who described Hitler at the weekend as a man "who got things done", sticks to Formula One. Christopher Maume

Frugalistas fashion new words from old cast-offsThe style press love a neologism – it's a way of pretending that fashion isn't regurgitating the same old stuff again and again. So leggings that look more like actual trousers than stretchy cotton tubes are 'treggings'. Sandals which owe more to boots than to Jesus-style footwear are 'bandals'. This jargon makes us fashion types feel like we peddle a real craft, not just a love of shopping.

It's a feeling shared by many consumers who feel less 'fashionista' (yawn, that's been around for ages) and more fashion expert. Everyone's a regular Trinny and Susannah now. Thankfully, Collins English Dictionary is here to help us keep abreast of new terminology – the latest edition includes entries for 'treggings' (see above), 'flannies' (an unfortunate-sounding term for flannel shirts) and 'body-con' (short for 'body-conscious', as in Hervé Léger bandage dresses sported by starlets like Rachel Stevens). There's also 'frugalista' but you can guess that one.

It's a joy to know that English is ever-changing, just like the looks on the catwalks. What would Shakespeare,our best linguistic innovator, make of this hybridised wordsmithery? Remember, one of the most important rebirths of an archaism was thanks to fashion: the Old English 'snood' was famously revived in the Eighties by the fash pack to describe a new generation of scarf/headgear.

But there is a nagging feeling that these terms are just incredibly naff. Take your mother's advice and think before you speak: what self-respecting fashion fan would ever use the word 'flannie'? Harriet Walker

Looking for work? Let your thumbs do the talking

Job hunters sick of sending off hundreds of covering letters – all those spell checks and fraught encounters with a recalcitrant printer – in the hope of employment, take note. Mobile phone firm Teimlo is taking a new approach to recruitment, inviting candidates to apply for a job by text message – using 120 characters or less. So, forget the good quality paper and correct paragraph spacing recommended in the Government's guide for job seekers, and try something along these lines instead:

2 huM it mA concrn, I wud lIk 2 apply 4 d advRtizd positN. I L%k 4ward 2 hErN frm U @ yor erliest posebL convenienS. Rebecca Armstrong

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