THE LAST WORD: JO BRAND

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Christians have always been fodder for comedians who have tended to portray them as anoraks - slightly clammy, beatifically smiley dullards with barely a personality between them. In my experience this is not a particularly reliable stereotype, having met Christians whose disturbed personalities would quite easily have earned them an invite to Hannibal Lecter's coming-out party, or others whose wildness matched that of that bloke in The Prodigy who drags round half an ironmongers in his sinuses.

One thing lots of Christians do have in common is that they can't help coming across as smug. This winds lots of people up, particularly because famous Christians pronounce on the life of the poor from their very lovely affluent homes filled with their very lovely families and attractive pets. These are homes, too, which are devoid of any sense of the desperation present in the lives of the people they wish to control. Hence, Chris- tians, including Mr T Blair, have raised clean hands to mouths in shock at the news that two 12-year-old girls have become pregnant. These are not two 12-year-old girls from the Home Counties who are the offspring of professional parents with rosy futures, but two girls from crappy areas with crappy lives. I wasn't "appalled" in the way that Tony Blair was as he set off on his "moral crusade". I was depressed and sad. Their education, sex or otherwise, has probably been lacking and their future is about as bright as Dan Quayle.

The trouble with the Blair morality crusade is that a comfortably off Oxbridge graduate is trying to impose his world view on a group of people who haven't got a cat's chance in hell of ever being in his world.

Nice, clean Tony Blair is no more welcome in the homes of the poor than any of those other self-proclaimed, well-heeled "Christians" who try to set them on the straight and narrow, be it Ann "Listen To Me While You're Chained To That Bed" Widdecombe or Ian "Yes The Viciousness is All Me" Paisley. The way Blair discusses the people at whom his cleansing shower of lurve is aimed illustrates that he has no understanding of the poor and the despair they feel. I used to think that didn't matter as long as he was truly committed to doing something about it, but I don't think he is any more.

To my mind, Christian is as Christian does, and that doesn't mean telling poor people to wash behind their ears, get some regular exercise and stop their 12-year-olds coupling with every- thing that moves. Being Christian towards poor people means trying to improve their lives and give them back some self-respect.

You may well be saying to yourselves that as far as the poor are concerned, at least Tony Blair is better than the Tories.

Well, I think he is much more of a disappointment because we expected so much more from him. By "we" I mean those of us who voted for Labour policies. At least with the Tories you know you're getting the Squeers family, whereas with Blair we expected Joe Gargery and got Mrs Joe.

As far as the morality of politicians goes, I couldn't really care less whether the whole lot of them threw off their clothes on a regular basis, banged each other senseless man and woman in wrestling rings full of jelly, as long as they didn't believe themselves to be qualified to pronounce on the morals of others.

You may be thinking I'm not exactly eligible to be throwing stones, but that is the joy of not being a politician, you can say just about anything you like without having to double check it with 12 people first. Yes, I use bad language, I take the piss out of blokes and commit the ultimate sin in lots of people's eyes of having let myself go a bit. So what? I can honestly say I've never sold any arms to a repressive foreign regime while reassuring everyone at home that the weapons will be used for nice things.

And, yes, I'm a feminist which means to me that we should still strive for silly things like equal pay and, as women, do our best to support other women.

That is why what got up my nose the most last week was the following quote in the Mail from the sadistic Lynda Lee-Potter in reference to the 12-year-old pregnant girls. "Their mothers are idle sluts who aren't fit to look after a dog, let alone a child." What a bitch.

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