The Third Leader: Mistaken identity

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Our watchword in this space is sympathy, not condemnation. Others have been giving the Prime Minister rather a tough time over his dithering, prevaricating and general thrashing about in the matter of whether to call a general election.

We, however, have noticed that a lot of mistakes are being made currently, which might make him feel better. Only yesterday morning, for example, I paid for my dry cleaning and then almost left the shop without it. And Mr Brown's favourite band, I read, have been presented with an award for Best Act in the World Today inscribed to the "Artic Monkeys".

All concerned should console themselves by contemplating the far worse case of the American tattooist who omitted an "a" when inscribing the breast of a member of an all-girl Hell's Angels chapter, thereby making her one of "Stan's Slaves".

And then there's Mr Alan Jenkins, of Port Talbot, whose wife has left him for a younger Latvian days after he had her face tattooed on his back.

Not all mistakes are a bad thing, either. Mrs Janet Baddick, of Braunton, Devon, has won £1.3m on the National Lottery after selecting a number which was not, in fact, the age of her son. And Mrs Ivy Jones, of Leeds, has just discovered she is 100, rather than 99.

Age, of course, while taking much away, also lends proportion. Mr Brown should ponder this, from, unless I'm mistaken, the great Eric Sykes: "I have had several regrets in my life, several things which I did not do, and the biggest regret I have now is that I can't remember any of them." Exactly.

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