Leading article: Top of the list for free publicity

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The Independent Online
WHAT this newspaper needs is more lists. Lists of the 10, 20 or 100 best, worst, most influential people, pop groups, books, films or unnecessary plastic objects this year, decade or century. People talk about them and argue about whether Dark Side of the Moon or John Keats should be joint seventh, or disqualified. And lists are a highly effective form of advertising. You may or may not agree that J.R.R. Tolkien was the author of the best book of the century, but you probably noticed that Waterstone's sponsored the survey.

And you almost certainly will not agree with today's choice of Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II and Adolf Hitler as the five "leaders and revolutionaries" who "most influenced the course of world events and the fate of humankind this century". But we envy Time magazine's acres of free publicity from its all-white, North Atlantic list, even as we contribute to it.

When we compile The Independent's Most Pretentious List of the Millennium List, Time's quintet will be a strong contender.

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