Flan Widdecombe

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The Independent Online

Reasonable people everywhere will condemn unreservedly the latest outbreak of political violence. The terrorists of the Biotic Baking Brigade who put a custard pie in the face of Ann Widdecombe, the shadow Home Secretary, at a book signing in Oxford for her novel, The Clematis Tree, should receive the same harsh punishment as that woman who hit Nick Brown, the Agriculture Minister, with a chocolate eclair last year. In other words, they should be lionised by the Conservative press.

As well as being tough on flan flingers, however, we must be tough on the causes of flan flingers. Unfortunately, as it turns out that the Oxford students were protesting not about Miss Widdecombe's excessive reliance on coincidence in her novel, but about her views on asylum seekers, this threatens to undermine the essential daftness of the operation.

At least the people who put a pie in the face of Bill Gates were protesting about something to do with computers and the people who missed the Duke of Edinburgh with an egg in Australia the other day did not like kowtowing to a couple of Poms. Keep custard pies silly.