I've got a bigger superhighway than you, so there

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The Independent Online
ONE aspect of the male that women find hard to understand is his obsession with electronic gadgets such as mobile phones, tiddly televisions, computers and combined answerphone-fax machines. The latest gadget that the male has invented is his best yet, the Internet. This will enable every household in the world to be connected to every other household and business so we can pass information from here right over to the other side of the world at the touch of a button, which is pretty clever. As the Internet is still relatively new, most of the people who already have it are boffin-type males. So what do they seem to be using this amazing 21st century information super-highway for? Mainly, it appears, for sending each other pictures of naked ladies' bosoms and bottoms.

Boys are strange creatures.

THE 79-year-old mother of a friend of mine recently fell ill and her daughter, who lives in Spain, got her to go out there so she could take care of her for a couple of months. When she returned, the Department of Social Security told her that they would not top up her pension with income support. When she asked why, after mentioning her recent illness, the DSS told her they suspected her of being in Spain for pleasure, but if she could prove she was not enjoying herself they would continue to pay her. I can see that this is an important new function for the DSS - to monitor old people and ensure that they are not enjoying themselves.

My friend's mother obviously failed to convince them that she wasn't enjoying being ill since they have now written to her saying: "We are pleased to inform you that we are awarding you 4p a week."

What she should of course have done was to write: "Dear DSS. Had an awful flight, really bumpy, foul food and rude stewardess. Baggage delayed by strike for eight hours at Barcelona airport! Eight hours! Taxi to hotel diddled me, bathroom had cockroaches. Had bag snatched in street with all money, credit cards etc. Police not interested. Too hot. I have heat stroke."

That should be enough proof of misery for the DSS.

DOUGLAS HURD has resigned as Foreign Secretary and about time too. For far too long he's been putting the interests of the country before those of the Conservative Party and this has got to stop.

I shall miss Hurd. I used to do his voice on Spitting Image when he first became Home Secretary in 1987 and was very grateful that he sounded so growly that I could do him as Fozzie Bear. In real life he was, of course, the first cabinet minister to introduce amusing pronunciation into his everyday speech - if you listen to him he says his "o"s as "aw"s.

Hence in answer to the question "Why are we being stubborn over Europe?" he will reply: "Naw naw naw we're nawt but what we dawn't want to do is to shaw Brussels that we'll agree to everything." He began a fashion in silly pronunciation by cabinet members that was followed by such luminaries as Michael Howard who says "pibbil" when he means "people". The Prime Minister also stopped wanting things a couple of years ago and started to wunt them, as in "I wunt a prosperous Britain; I wunt a crime-free Britain; I wunt a Britain that is free from poverty and wunt. This is what I wunt." The Prime Minister is a very silly man, isn't he?

If the PM doesn't do very well in the first ballot of this election thing he might be replaced by Portillo. This will be another first for the Conservatives - they gave us our first woman PM and now they'll give us our first foreign PM. Without wishing to degenerate into personal abuse I can't help thinking of Portillo without wanting to use words like "revolting, stinking, ugly, lousy". I can't see why Tory women are supposed to die for his good looks. The man has revoltingly greasy hair, a disgustingly pudgy nose, no discernible chin and a permanent expression of smugness.

If he does get the top job will Major become Lord Major of Brixton? Or will he stay in the Commons to be twisted and bitter like Ted Heath? Poor old John Major, he'll probably write his autobiography Bleating In The Wind in which he'll viciously attack his successor but no one will take any notice because he isn't Mrs Thatcher and no one cares what he thinks. It must be awfully depressing for him. I would not wunt to be in his shoes.

APPARENTLY there is a new Guinness advert coming out soon featuring two gay men who live together and ending with the catchline "Guinness: Life isn't always black and white", which is frightfully clever you will agree. It doesn't, however, come near the standard of my favourite advertising catchline, a radio advert a few years ago to promote a January sale of camping equipment: "Now is the discount of our winter tent."

LET me make a brief statement to you. I've been deeply involved in writing garbage since I was 16. I've been writing this column for nearly six months. In that time we've written a great deal, but for the last three weeks I've been opposed by a small minority of opinions inside my head telling me to stop pretending to be a journalist.

I believe this is in no one's interest. It undermines the Independent on Sunday and it damages the "Comment" section. I am not prepared to see the newspaper I care for laid out on the rack like this any longer. To remove this uncertainty I have this afternoon tendered my resignation as top columnist to Sir Peter Wilby, the editor of this newspaper, and requested him to set the machinery in motion for the appointment of a successor. I have confirmed to Sir Peter that I shall not be a candidate for that appointment.

The Independent on Sunday must make its choice. Is it a newspaper for serious journalists or celebrities with egos the size of watermelons? In short is it time for me to belt up and shut up. I have nothing more to say this morning.

Thank you very much.