Miles Kington: All you need to know about risk, tattoos – and that divorce

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The Independent Online

I think it's time for another edition of Opposite Options, our reader advice service in which you ask the questions and we give the answer that's right for you.

How can we guarantee that? Because we provide two diametrically opposed answers, so that you can pick the one that suits you! It may not be the right answer – all that matters is that you sincerely believe it is. For instance, if you asked the question: "Is there any validity in homeopathy?", we would probably say...

Well, why don't we make that the first question! Then you can see how it works...

First question, please.

Is there any validity in homeopathy?

A. No. It doesn't even look as if it is spelt right. It is quite clearly a bogus science dreamt up at a time when most medical science was pretty bogus as well. When Dr Samuel Hahnemann devised it 200 years ago, it must have seemed a lot better than the leeches, arsenic and mercury doctors were giving people. Medicine has moved on since then in giant strides. Homeopathy hasn't moved at all, except in the deviousness of its arguments. The miracle of homeopathy is that anyone still believes in it.

B. Yes, there certainly is. At a time when all medicine is falling into the hands of drug companies and all treatment into the hands of doctors brainwashed by Western orthodoxy, homeopathy is an oasis of naturalness, where the treatment can do you no wrong, even if it does not always cure. Scientific tests have proved conclusively that homeopaths are much nicer and more decent than other practitioners. What more do you want?

Should I have a tattoo done?

A. Go on, why not! There are at least three great advantages to having a tattoo. 1. It annoys the hell out of your parents. 2. It's something to talk about when you've run out of conversation. 3. It helps enormously when you want to get a job as a waitress. (Did you know that it is now legally mandatory for any waitress, when she bends over, to reveal an unsuspected tattoo of a butterfly on her bum, just below the waistline? Well, it is.)

B. Not unless you want to end up in later life with something stuck to your skin which looks like a price label it is impossible to remove.

Are we right to make so much fuss about health and safety?

A. Yes. If you had a child who might be alive today if only he had been wearing a safety helmet while out on his bike, you wouldn't think twice about this. Health and safety rules are easy to laugh at until you wish you'd followed them.

B. No. They're a complete waste of time. The next time someone says to you, "If you had a child who might be alive today if he had been wearing a safety helmet on his bike," tell them that you haven't. Furthermore, that the worst thing that can happen to a child today is not facing danger and risk. Because if they don't run a few risks now, they won't be ready for it when it comes, having been swaddled in a health and safety cocoon all their lives.

Who do you think comes out best from the Paul McCartney divorce business – Paul McCartney or Heather Mills?

A. Nobody ever comes out best from a divorce case.

B. I am afraid I cannot comment on this. The truth of the matter is, I have signed a gagging order and am now barred from uttering any observations on Heather Mills. This has so far enriched my quality of life that I have now also signed gagging orders under which I can make no comments on or indeed have any thoughts about Madeleine McCann, Kate Moss, Mme Cecilia Sarkozy, Kate Middleton, Madonna and a dozen other female celebrities in whom I no longer have to pretend to take an interest.

Does my bum look big in this?

A. No, darling.

B. Yes, mate.

Opposite Options will be back soon. And there again, maybe it won't. Let us know how you feel. Or don't, if you can't be bothered. See if we care. Though we do, deeply...

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