Leading article: Loopy

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Whoosh-aarrgh! You will be delighted to learn that you can now be projected 200 feet above Surrey and back down again in around 20 seconds, at a rate of acceleration which, as one commentator has pointed out, is "quick enough to make even Michael Schumacher reach for his potty".

Do not, please, fancy a note of disdain in the previous paragraph. No. There is distaste, which might be based on the belief that there are more culturally rewarding ways to spend 20 seconds than on Europe's newest, fastest launch rollercoaster at Thorpe Park. It might be based, too, on the belief that there are better things to spend £12m on. But it's not. It's based on pure fear.

It started at Belle Vue, Manchester. Not on the terrifying "Bobs" rollercoaster, named after the shilling life insurance, no chance, but on the fairly tame, as you might assume, Wild Mouse. And it has got worse. You are reading the words of a man who has asked strangers to take his child on Excalibur at Camelot, Lancs. A man who has had bad moments in those teacup things.

I have tried to convince myself it's because I'm highly imaginative and very sensitive, but if Britain had been peopled exclusively by people like me, no one would have left their own village yet. Have you heard the advert on TV that advises you to do something that scares you every day? That scares me.

I can see, though, that for the braver, alpha types, rollercoasters are highly useful substitutes for the thrill of danger, adventure and expedition. If only we could coax world leaders onto them more.

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