The Third Leader: Getting exercised

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The Independent Online

There are, I fear, some intellectually lazy, left-wing, liberal journalists of exactly the type condemned by Mr Clarke, the Home Secretary, who will seek to make some typically cheap points about the Prime Minister's latest initiative, the one urging the nation to take more exercise.

You know the sort of thing: clever-cloggery about how Government handling of the NHS is a powerful incentive to focus on one's fitness; worries that Mr Blair's suggestion about us all getting off one bus stop early and walking might lead to legislation reducing the number of bus stops if we don't comply sharpish; even, and this is really above, around and below the belt, remarks of a disgracefully personal nature about the apparent absence of any early bus exit strategy from, say, Mr Clarke.

Down here, we have no truck with such stuff. Down here, we take fitness seriously. Which is where we can help, as this bus stop regimen, and the Prime Minister's other recommendation, taking the stairs rather than the lift, seem to us to lack the imagination and resourcefulness the Government has brought to other areas, particularly if you live in a bungalow.

Here, then, are our top tips for aninnovative exercise programme: 1. Try demonstrating within 1 km of Parliament Square without permission. 2. Stand up every time a member of the Government combines these words or phrases: "new measures", "vital" and "changed times". 3. Sit down every time a member of the Government combines these phrases: "quite frankly", "nothing to hide" and "nothing to fear". 4. Now rest briefly between legislation. 5. They say hunting is still fun.