Crystal-ball gazing No 4010

<em>Set by John O'Byrne</em>

"For me 2007 has been the year of the historians," wrote <strong>Dav

Report by Ms de Meaner

A bumper postbag! But what can it mean that so many of you had Gordon commit suicide in 2008? Couldn’t you have got him out of the way by gentler means? I was amazed, too, by the number who sent in handwritten entries and by how many have almost identical handwriting (Mike Mason, Alan Griffin, G Johnson, Harry Glenister). I suspect no plot – perhaps compers just naturally write alike. £20 to the three winners. Tesco vouchers go to the overall winner, Michael Cregan.

Is there anybody out there?

Hello? Hello? Can anybody hear me? I’m all alone and the needle keeps flickering . . . If anyone’s listening, you already know . . . January, there were floods through Europe. February, the Conference on Climate Change said it would report in due course. March and April, major US cities destroyed by lightning storms . . . hello? . . . hello? May and June, drought as far north as Baffin Bay. July, Conference on Climate Change said deliberations were continuing. August, hurricanes destroyed Scandinavia. September, a giant wave submerged Australia. October, Conference on Climate Change reported satisfactory progress. November, 300mph winds swept away the Conference on Climate Change. December, the world was covered in a mile-high ice sheet . . . Hello?

Michael Cregan

Dirty washing at the White House

The election of a 19-year-old student, Bilawal Zardari Bhutto, in Pakistan was a refreshing change to the political scene. Zardari’s initial tendency to fail to attend debates was resolved by switching these to the late afternoon. Pakistan’s ambivalent relations with the US improved once Zardari stopped arriving at the White House with bags of washing, pleading with the new incumbent for loans to see him through to the end of term, inviting friends to stay at summit conferences, leaving pizza cartons, potato wedges and open tins of beans lying around the Oval Office, and generally “treating Camp David like a goddam hotel”.

David Silverman

Compulsory churchgoing

The collapse of the Virgin Group early in 2008 meant that the government had to raise income tax to pay off its debts. The Daily Express published a photo of Madeleine McCann riding Shergar, but this failed to divert attention from revelations that the Labour Party had received donations from the Bin Laden family. Gordon Brown became the first British prime minister to commit suicide while in office. His successor, Ruth Kelly, broadened the base of her government by giving senior ministerial posts to Davina McCall and Jeremy Clarkson. She made contraception illegal and church attendance compulsory, but a major speech in which she declared that God would take care of climate change was overshadowed by the disappearance of Southampton beneath rising sea levels.

Ian Birchall

No 4013 Simmer a chimera

Set by Hank T Romein

We want a poem in honour of Vincent Cable (who pronounces awry to rhyme with Tory), with the rhyme-words showing similar misunderstanding of how they should be spoken, eg, misled rhyming with fizzled, etc.

Max 16 lines by 31 January

Email: comp@newstatesman.co.uk