The Third Leader: Hard left

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The Independent Online

Sinister news: left-handers think more quickly. This has rather got me worried, too, as I'm one and I hadn't noticed. But there it is, in research conducted by, hold on a second, the Australian National University into brain hemisphere connections.

Forgive the lack of mental dexterity, but we lefties are unused to processing information setting out advantages in our condition. Normally, it's all about living less long, being more susceptible to any number of fell diseases and subject to a vicious prejudice which probably had its beginnings when Adam turned right out of Eden.

But other things are slowly coming back to me, including our disproportionate number of creative types: Da Vinci and Michelangelo and Beethoven and Mozart, to take a random quartet. (But be wary: many claimed lefties were in fact righties. Napoleon, Jack the Ripper, Billy the Kid, Winston Churchill and Einstein, for five, although we have Syd Little and Celine Dion.)

Even-handedness, however, compels me to sound a note of caution on leftist supremacy. Our evolutionary survival is supposed to be down to our ability to surprise the conventional right-hander in combat. So what did Berthold Schwarz, the brilliant left-handed Franciscan friar, come up with in the 14th century? The gun.

Nevertheless, our numbers are increasing, which has implications, especially in crowded bars. We are also supposed to be superior at multitasking, which comes in handy when picking up what we keep dropping, victims of an other-handed world, ignored by the supposedly pervasive forces of health, safety and equality. Sorry, a bit of righteousness creeping in there.