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Anarchy takes a mainstream stand

AN era is over. Our favourite anarchists, Class War, are going to embrace parliamentary democracy. Tim Scargill, the bark behind the War's negligible bite, has been adopted as the 'Class War - Abolish the Monarchy' candidate for the forthcoming Newbury by-election. Actually, they're going to assault democracy, rather than embrace it: Mr Scargill will not, he assures us, actually take up his seat in the Commons if elected. 'We haven't succumbed to a lust for democratic power,' he insists. 'We want to help get our message across, highlight the plight of the working class - by all means necessary. This means we can stand on a platform with a beer bottle in hand saying 'F*** the Queen' rather than do it from six miles away. We're not worried if the mass media portrays us as sniffing, snotty and venomous. As usual.' In fact, he'd be glad to get 2,500 votes and push the Labour candidate into fourth place. Class War can be expected to bring rather more to the election than Lindi St Clair or, indeed, the tedious Monster Raving Loony Party. The anarchists are certainly wittier. During the general election last year, when everyone was worrying about dirty campaigning, one War activist told us the only good electoral smear would be one caused by 'the entire House of Commons having an argument with a runaway lorry'.

THERE'S unusual accord between the political parties over the decision that the US plan to bomb Bosnia with Big Macs is daft and not worth supporting. One Labour frontbench spokesman said yesterday: 'If the US Air Force's standard of accuracy with aid is anything like it was with high explosive, a lot of Albanians are going to be eating, well . . .'

Theatre in check

THE news that Manchester is to host the chess showdown between Nigel Short and Garry Kasparov in September caused much joy in the city yesterday, but it came as something of a surprise to staff at the Royal Exchange theatre, billed as the venue for the event. Five weeks of chess, however dramatic, isn't quite the sort of drama the theatre had been planning to put on this autumn. After some discussion, Patricia Weller from the Exchange told us: 'We would be delighted to host the championship if it proves possible to do so within our programme.' But a spokesperson for the organisers said testily: 'The City owns the theatre and it is the ideal venue. If we want the Royal Exchange, we will get it.'

IT'S good to see that megastardom isn't getting to Bono, lead singer of U2. Asked at a press conference when he was coming to Israel, he replied, from inside a pair of wraparound sunglasses and a purple crushed-velvet suit: 'I was there about 2,000 years ago.'

Image investment

TODAY'S lesson is taken from the Gospel according to St Matthew, chapter six: 'Do not worry about your dress . . . Is the body not worth more than raiment?' So does this still apply to the Church of England? The Rt Rev Michael Whinney, the Assistant Bishop of Birmingham, has appointed the fashion designer Jane Farnoon as image consultant to improve his clergy's dress sense. From March, 240 clergymen in the diocese can pay pounds 12.50 to hear one of four 40-minute lectures at St Peter's Cathedral, which will give tips on such things as 'hair colour and skin tone'. But the Rev Edward Coombes, a local vicar, seemed unconvinced: 'The son of Our Lord dressed in very scruffy clothes, but he could project his image irrespective of that.'

LAW and order ain't what it used to be - and now we hear that one traditional means by which the constabulary interfaces with the few remaining honest members of the general public is up for change. Yes - the classic 'Wanted' poster will no longer bear the line 'all information will be treated in strictest confidence', because, well, it won't. The Crown Prosecution Service has decided that disclosure rules - by which prosecution documents are made available to the defence - mean that strictest confidence is now out.


25 February 1757 Thomas Turner, a Sussex grocer, writes in his diary: 'About six we was awaked by Mrs Potter. My wife got out of bed and found Mr Potter (the parson), Mr Fuller and his wife, with a lighted candle, and part of a bottle of wine and a glass. Upstairs they came and poured into my room; their immodesty permitted them to draw me out of bed topsy-turvy; they made me put on my wife's petticoats and dance until they had emptied the wine and also a bottle of beer. About three, they found their way to their respective homes, in my opinion, ashamed of their stupid enterprise and drunken perambulation. Now let anyone call in reason to his assistance, and seriously reflect on what I have recited, and they will join with me in thinking that the precepts delivered from the pulpit on Sunday, tho' delivered with the greatest ardour, must lose a great deal of their efficacy by such examples.'