I've been on the telly, so I know all about politics

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The Independent Online
BERNARD LEVIN once wrote in praise of Paul Eddington after the latter had refused to divulge how he voted. The gist of Levin's argument was that we showbiz types have done nothing in life except prance about on the boards, but we all think this g ives usthe right to ram our politics down everyone else's throats. This from a man who has done nothing with his own life except prance about on TW3 before settling down to a life of self-righteous pontificating. Well, Bernard Levin can shove off. I've had my own comedy series on telly and I know the truth about politics. So here's how we ought to run the world. First, we should spend a lot more money on the arts, especially small theatres that encourage new playwrights. Second, we should stop eating v eal and set all the little calves free to scamper over hill and dale. Third, um, that's it.

THE veal protests in Shoreham have been providing me with endless opportunities to drone on about the English preferring animals to humans. For instance, we may boycott veal, but we don't boycott Benetton, whose horrid advertisements, including one of anAids victim dying, haven't affected the company's sales in this country at all. The veal-eating Germans, however, are boycotting the shop in droves, and in some places sales are down by a third. On telly over here we see Benetton-clad protesters waggingtheir fingers furiously at veal transports, while in Germany they see Germans with their tummies full of veal wagging their fingers furiously at Benetton execs. Which is it better to protest against? The cruel commercial exploitation

of veal calves, or that of Aids victims? Personally I'm neutral on the subject and think I'll pop down the road in my Benetton jumper for a plate of Wiener Schnitzel.

WHILE we're on the subject of the Germans, I'm in favour of a single European Currency, as long as it's not called the Ecu, which sounds silly. I personally like the sound of the word Deutschmark - it conjures up pictures of a strong currency and economic stability. What do you reckon, Kenneth Clarke and Gordon Brown?

While we're on the subject of Mr Brown, when is someone going to take him to one side and tell him he has a really crap haircut? Does he go to the barber on Saturday and say, "Morning Tom, I'd like a crap haircut, please."

"Certainly, Sir. How crap, Sir? Really very crap or would you prefer totally and utterly abysmal?"

"Well, they both sound pretty tempting, but what I'd really like is for you to make me look like a festering cabbage."

Unlike his leader, he clearly doesn't spend £60 on his hairdo. My conscience will not allow me to vote Labour again unless Mr Brown goes to Vidal Sassoon.

While we're on the subject of crap haircuts, my showbiz pal Richard Curtis has been awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours. For some years now many of us showbiz pals have been wondering when he would be honoured, as he is the linchpin of Comic Relief, the man who grovels to us celebs, flatters us, writes scripts for us to do on Comic Relief and thanks us for being so kind as to give up a few minutes of our time. We then go on telly and appear Jolly Good Blokes and Blokesses and Richard, who ha s devoted years to the programme, sinks into the background and thanks us for being marvellous. Well now he's got an MBE for his efforts - or was it for that? Perhaps it is for his services to comedy - he co-wrote Not The Nine O'Clock News, Blackadder an d Mr Bean. Or is it for Four Weddings and a Funeral, which he also wrote? The film has been a huge success and rumour has it that Richard has made a packet out of it. If this is true, I suspect his honour had nothing to do with Comic Relief, but was in r ecognition of the fact that he's made a lot of money, like Sir Charles Forte or Sir Tim Bell. This would seem to me to be more in tune with the times. Perhaps the Queen sits there thinking: "Right, anyone who gets more than a sixtieth of my income gets a prize."

Apparently, during the dark years of the Hoxha regime in Albania, the only person who wasn't banned was my showbiz pal Norman Wisdom, or Pipkin as he is known over there. On Hoxha Avenue there was always a Pipkin film showing at the Hoxha Empire. Even upto the late 1980s you could be sent to prison if your trousers weren't a Pipkin-style regulation six inches above the ankles, as sold by Marx & Hoxha's on Hoxha Square. At Hoxha MV Record Store on Hoxha Street you could only buy two records: "Enver Sings The International" and "Don't Laugh at Me 'Cos I'm a Fool." Hoxha is no more, but Pipkin remains - and there he was last week, flopping off the plane to a hero's welcome, prat-falling in front of the president, crashing into the cabinet, tripping his w ay over Tirana's main square, all to gales of laughter and adulation from the population of that tiny country. What a strange thing that one of the most tyrannical regimes the world has known this century should ban everything except Norman Wisdom. Perha ps it is no coincidence that Pol Pot and his murderous Khmer Rouge have been losing ground steadily in Cambodia since Mr Bean has been available on video.

A FEW months ago a foul-mouthed yob hurled abuse at a policeman, who chased after him and gave him a clip round the ear. The tabloids declared the policeman a National Hero. This week a foul-mouthed yob hurled abuse at Eric Cantona, who gave him a MightyPower Rangers kick. The tabloids have declared Mr Cantona a National Disgrace. Why one rule for the policeman and another for Mr Cantona? Perhaps it is because Mr Cantona is a lousy, stinking, garlic-eating, Common-Agricultural-Policy-loving , greasy frog wop.