Ever wanted to hit Michael Howard?

Keith Nuthall finds out how to thump a politician on the Net
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Thousands of Internet users have been taking out their frustrations at the real world, by giving Tory cabinet ministers a virtual thump in the face.

Net surfers have been logging onto an underground E-zine called Urban 75, where they can click their computer mice onto the faces of Michael Heseltine, Michael Portillo or Michael Howard.

Users hear the sound of a punch and watch as the faces of the ministers contort. The Internet site is posted as a "virtual smacking gallery".

The deputy editor of Internet Magazine, David Bradwell, said that Urban 75 had been read 23,000 times since it was launched late last year.

He said: "The punching site is funny. It's taking revenge on politicians in a way that's more viable than throwing an egg at them outside a university campus. It's an imaginative application of the technology."

Urban 75 has been written by Brixton-based Mike Slocombe, who Internet Magazine said was a supporter of Reclaim the Streets, the anti-roads direct action group that occupied the M41 this summer.

The E-zine's introduction page says: "This is the first issue of a new magazine that aims to reflect the true underground in the UK. We'll be reporting on all the hard core environmentalists, underground ravers and road campaigners."

Its smacking gallery pages are less than complimentary about the Aunt Sally ministers.

Mr Portillo is described as "the maddest, baddest man on the planet", and Mr Heseltine as "the man who single-handedly managed to destroy the coal industry". As for Mr Howard, whose tough policies on warehouse raves have earned him the enmity of many in the road protest-dance music fringe, there is a special message.

"Feel free to show him what you think of him and his Satanic Criminal Justice Act," says Urban 75.

The author of the site is quoted this week in another underground protester publication called Schnews.

He says: "We've had a great response and there are plans to put up other people's faces. The favourite requests we've had are for Tony Blair and Richard (This Morning) Madley. We'll try to oblige in the near future."

The Urban 75 site address is: http://www.urban75.demon.co.uk

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