Miles Kington: Where do you stand on the burning questions of the day?

The idea that a small post office is a focus for the community is spread by urban greens who have never been trapped in one
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The Independent Online

Today sees a welcome return of our revolutionary advice column, Opposite Options.

The unique selling point of this advice service is that in answer to every topic raised, you get two quite contradictory lines of thought.

Then you can choose the one you would have chosen in the first place!

After all, we only take the advice we want to hear, don't we?

And we only agree with the opinions we hold already, don't we?

But you'll see how it works, as we go through today's burning questions.

Here we go then!

Should we give Christmas the new name of Winter Festival?

A. No. This is multiculturalism gone mad.

B. Yes. It was called Winter Festival long before Christianity came along and hijacked the idea for Jesus's Birthday.

Should rural post offices be closed down in such large numbers?

A. No. It would be madness to get rid of these ready-made community centres, which many older people rely on as their only means of contact with the neighbourhood. To close down a local post office is to kill off a living organism.

B. Yes. Have you ever been in a small rural post office? It takes ages to be served and yet nobody in the queue ever talks to each other, just eyes each other suspiciously and grumbles under their breath. The person in front of you is always holding a large package for New Zealand, for which they are about to spend 10 minutes filling in a customs declaration form at protracted length, thus keeping you from your legitimate business. The idea that a small post office is a focus for the community is a sentimental notion spread by urban greens who have never been trapped in one. Queuing in a rural post office promotes only sullen silence, feuds and frustration.

Is the proper name for the game "ping pong" or "table tennis"?

A. "Table tennis". "Ping pong" is a name only used by amateurs and children.

B. "Ping pong". "Table tennis" is only used by people who take this ridiculous game far too seriously. Many games, oddly, have two names, depending on your attitude. "Football" and "soccer". "Rugby" and "rugger". Etc etc.

Is it right that top British football clubs should be owned by dodgy foreign people with lots of money?

A. No, it is not right. In the past they have always been owned by dodgy British people with lots of money, and it is a tradition we should preserve.

B. Yes. Why shouldn't top British clubs be owned by dodgy rich foreigners? After all, all their best players are rich foreigners.

Tony Blair seems to have turned against muticulturalism. Is he right to do so?

A. No. Tony Blair bases all his new ideas on multiculturalism on the current Iraq situation, where the close proximity of Sunnis, Shias and Kurds has led to the most catastrophic cultural clashes. But that is not typical. In reality we have had multiculturalism for many generations, from the arrival of the Huguenots onwards, and it has always enriched the country.

B. Yes. Blair has at last woken up to the fact that a divided community is not a happy community. Look no further than Belfast. Or Liverpool. Or New Labour. Or the Cabinet.

Are we in denial about global warming?

A. Yes.

B. No, certainly not.

C. What do you mean, "in denial"?

D. What do you mean, "we"?

E. What do you mean, "global warming"?

Hold on - I thought you were only going to give us two alternatives? That was five!"

A. Yes, but global warming is too important for just two anwers.

B. Sorry. You're right. Something has gone badly wrong. The system has gone into meltdown. Please switch off all appliances and start again later.

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