Competition - Win a bottle of champagne

No 3574 Set by Leonora Casement

We asked for letters of advice to those planning to economise.

Report by Ms de Meaner

You fell into two camps: those who wrote essay-type letters and those who sent in lists. The list camp took the riskier road, as unless I liked a large number of your suggestions you weren't going to get the top prizes. The ones below who had single ideas that were rather good can have £5 book tokens. The winners get £12 each. The champagne goes to Basil Ransome-Davies.

Wear your poppy carefully on Poppy Day. A good poppy can last several years.

Gavin Ross

On the Underground, pretend you are a suitcase and go past the ticket barrier through the slide marked "Luggage".

Geoff Horton

Read the Big Issue in your local public library.

W J Webster

Tie your hair back in a pony tail.

R J Pickles

Having analysed the expenditure of four typical New Statesman readers, we discovered that in all cases they could save £2 per week by entirely giving up the magazine.

Cynthia Hall

Bonk your own spouse - it's cheaper.

Gordon Gwilliams

Many New Statesman readers need to economise to pay school fees and medical insurance. Now's the time to cut out compassion. Compassion is an addiction, like alcohol or cigarettes: end it with a clean break.

If a beggar asks you to "spare some change", stand up to her. It doesn't look like it, but she's threatening you. Jack Straw says so, so it must be true.

As for Children in Need, remember your children are in need - of getting away from the working-class yobs who go to the local comprehensive.

Television is a terrible temptation. Twenty minutes watching Kosovar refugees and you can donate a fiver without realising it. Fortunately the new ITV schedules let you watch for four hours non-stop without seeing any trace of reality.

If you actually meet a Kosovar, just say: "I am already paying huge sums of tax to bomb your country. What more can you possibly want?" (See insert box for an Albanian translation.)

Finally, if axing compassion isn't enough, why not cancel that Labour Party subscription? The idea of a mass membership party is terribly old Labour and quite unnecessary.

Ian Birchall

Don't buy any of the following: Innovations gadgets; factory-carved and painted wooden statues of Laurel and Hardy; aromatherapy oils; anything marketed and promoted as an aid to giving up smoking; novels by Martin Amis; golf equipment; exercise bikes; an ISP subscription; meals in a restaurant where anyone remotely famous has been seen; "manager's choice" white or electrical goods; anything from a museum or National Trust shop; performance cars; Lottery tickets; the Guardian; multifunction electronic notebooks; "limited edition" commemorative porcelain or coins; opera tickets; videos of old sitcoms or sporting occasions; organic food; ambient CDs; bonsai trees; advertisements disguised as fashionable clothing; a pony; Captain Corelli's Mandolin; a special short-break offer from a chain hotel; private health insurance; milk from the corner shop; watches with the Swiss flag on their dials; Disney objects.

Even on a moderate income, this should leave you enough for your alcohol, tobacco and drugs.

Basil Ransome-Davies

Kit yourself out with a set of old clothes from a local charity shop. Get a suitably lean dog. Find a pitch outside a busy supermarket and a quiet corner to doss down in after dark. Practise throughout the summer the complementary arts of begging and sleeping rough. Come October you should have made enough to winter modestly in the south of France. But don't take the dog! Rent him out to some other vagrant so he'll be ready when you resume your economies in the spring. If ever tempted to send someone a postcard, remember to forget the stamp. People serious about economising always do!

Frank Dunnill

No 3577 Set by Harry Cohen MP

Apparently there is to be a "Millennium poet", at least according to the House of Commons Library. We would like verses supporting your candidature by 6 May.


This article first appeared in the 26 April 1999 issue of the New Statesman, The great Balkan lie