The Third Leader: Who's a pretty boy?

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Down here, in this space, we are accustomed to greet current events with a certain airiness. Generally, we endeavour to provide proportion, to convey a sense that such things have happened before, and doubtless will again. Continuity, calm: these are our watchwords. If it helps, imagine a pipe and a steady gaze into the mid-distance.

It is in such a light that we have contemplated, with comparative equanimity, these recent news items: a Lord Justice of Appeal shows Westminster magistrates his underwear; the President of the United States is relieved of his wristwatch; Hazel Blears's office falls down; and the Prime Minister blames the press.

But, wait, what is this? Yes, indeed, the discovery in China of evidence of a parrot dinosaur, a feathered flesh-eating beast more than 26 feet long, weighing well over a ton, and twice the height of a man. Remarkable. Will we ever be able to look upon the jolly domestic companion and friend of the piratical classes in the same light again?

What should it be called? Sir, rather than Polly, I should have said. And if it could talk, it would surely have been listened to. Thank goodness it is an ex-parrot dinosaur. What next? A mean hamster dinosaur? And does all this mean that the Intelligent Designer is a Cartoonist?

Continuity, calm. You will be delighted to learn, I'm sure, that the Badgeworth Buttercup, Britain's rarest, is flowering once again in Gloucestershire. The Banks are under fire again. And there will be more rain. I have to tell you, though, that there is a report of a cat near Swansea with 26 toes.