Miles Kington: The leaves are green but conkers are falling. Is it autumn?

Cling on to summer as long as you can! Don't let them make you depressed before it's necessary!
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The Independent Online

I recently brought you my exclusive advice column called Opposite Options, in which, for each problem that you raised, I provided two solutions, one of which was the exact opposite of the other.

This guaranteed that at least one of the solutions was the one you wanted.

I had a voluminous mailbag afterwards.

Half of you thought it was an excellent idea.

Half of you thought it was a load of rubbish.

I think that proves that my idea is spot on!

Let's try it again today, with a few more interesting queries and problems...

Is Gordon Brown really the right man for the job?

A. Definitely not. He sends out all the wrong signals. He is cheerless, dour and Scottish. Every time he smiles, it is a painful effort. His attempts to explain things are half jargon, half lists.

Until now, we have learnt to live with him as the straight man in a double act with Tony Blair. As a solo performer, I do not think the British public will put up with him for a moment.

B. Definitely. We are getting tired of charming, lightweight party leaders like Tony Blair and David Cameron. It's time for a bit of gravitas instead, time we were led by someone we instinctively feel is serious and firmly rooted.

When you watch Gordon Brown, you feel immediately that he is not trying to ingratiate himself with you, but treating you as a grown-up. Kiddy time is over. As a solo performer, I think the British public will take to him in a big way.

Is Iran really a big threat?

A. Yes. The sooner the Americans get in there and sort things out, the better.

B. No. It's just that the Americans are running out of baddies, and Iran is next on the list as Enemy Number One.

If the Iranians hold their nerve, the Americans will pass on to someone else, just as they forgot about Cuba and Libya.

Does China want to take over the world?

A. Yes. And they can and they will. I would start learning Chinese as soon as possible, if I were you.

B. No. They just want to get Taiwan back. They are not interested in ruling the world until they rule the whole of China. While Taiwan is still independent, the rest of the world can sleep easy at night.

There seem to be two schools of thought about language at the moment. There is the language vigilante school, which desperately wants standards to be kept up (headteacher Lynne Truss). And there is the laissez-faire camp, managed by David Crystal, which concludes that all attempts to control the language are doomed, because language finds its own channels. Which one is right?

A. David Crystal. No language vigilantism has ever succeeded.

B. Lynne Truss. We must stick to what we KNOW to be right. By the way, it's not "laissez-faire". It's "laisser-faire". Just a small point. But worth making. We MUST keep standards up.

Is autumn here yet?

A. No. The leaves are still green. The sun is still warm. Cling on to summer as long as you can! Don't let them make you depressed before it's necessary!

B. Yes. The blackberries are finished already. The conkers are falling. Of course it's autumn! Face facts, for heaven's sake! Don't live in a dream world!

Is that a dagger that I see before me?

A. Yes, it is, and if you don't hand over your mobile and wallet, you'll get it stuck in you.

B. No, it's a small plastic knife which I am taking on the plane to cut up my sandwiches with.

If I haven't covered a question you want answered, just send it in. On the other hand, don't. See if I care.

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