Competition - Win a bottle of champagne

No 3610 Set by John Crick

So Roy Hattersley thinks there is an Old Testament quality about new Labour . . .

Report by Ms de Meaner

I've decided to make the annual league table of compers the Top 20 from now on - leaving more room for actual entries. Yes, Will Bellenger is the winner again, but didn't forge his way into the lead until September. Even so, Ian Birchall is only £19 behind. Well done N Syrett, G M Davis, Adrian Fry, Cynthia Hall and Nicholas Hodgson.

This week, the winners get £20. Everyone else can have an hon mensh - especially newcomer Mark Hobbes - as I'm feeling generous. The champagne goes to David Silverman. I'll sort out the money for the comp setters as soon as I can.

And on the seventh day it came to pass that Eve, being tempted, invited in Ground Force. And they tended the garden from morning until evening. Then the Lord returned from his rest, and saw what they had done. For the tree of knowledge had been replaced by a pergola, four plastic gnomes, a built-in barbecue and a dome. And Adam said: "To be honest, it needed doing." And the Lord shewed mercy unto Adam whom he had created and said: "Thou shalt be called Frank, for thou wast honest with the Lord. And no man shall cut thy beard. For unto you is it appointed to be the Mayor of Eden." But unto Ken the Lord shewed no mercy. For Ken did evil in the sight of the Lord. For Ken had placed newt in the garden, and a free, integrated transport system betwixt that great water feature, which is the River Tigris in the West, and the barbecue in the East of Eden. The Lord placed a mark upon Ken, saying: "This is the mark of Ken. When they shall see this mark, they shall not suffer such a man to be Mayor over them."

David Silverman

And Tony turned, and went down from the mount. Waiting were Gordon, strong in his austerity, and Alastair, who, waving his rod, could summon plagues of boils, murrains of cattle and deaths of the first-born, turning the waters to blood.

And Tony spake unto the elders of the Blairites:

"Look, I've just descended the mountain, and, you know, I'm angry. I mean . . . graven images . . . golden calves. It's got to stop. I've one or two things to tell you, well, ten, actually. Ten Commandments. I'd have preferred eight, but I couldn't go handbagging Him. Sorry. Best deal I could get. Trust me. We're on course for the Promised Land. OK. Some Commandments seem inconvenient, and . . . sure, I could've vetoed a couple . . . but I didn't, because, taking the package as a whole, I b'lieve . . . I b'lieve it's right. What I'm saying is, it's right about right and wrong. No 7's difficult. You'll hate No 10. Look, I'm disappointed myself. 'Now Lord,' I said, 'I delivered them from the land of Scargill . . . and all that time in the wilderness . . .' Expecting some quid pro quo, I reminded Him about Zipporah. After all, He'd said earlier: 'Be fruitful and multiply' . . . and I jolly well think I've done my bit."

Anne Du Croz

In the beginning Blair created new Labour. But the speeches of Prescott were without force and meaning, and darkness was upon the face of the electorate. Then the spirit of Mandelson moved in the Millbank Firmament, and Blair said: "Let there be Spin," and there was Spin, and Blair saw that the Spin was great. And Blair divided the Spin from the Truth and smiled upon his handiwork. And Blair blessed the rich and powerful, saying: "Be fruitful and multiply," and they did so, rejoicing. And Blair saw that it was right. And the Party faithful saw that it was, in truth, more right than left and were sore amazed. And Blair said: "Let me bring forth a Chancellor," and it was so. And the Chancellor was prudent after his kind, and Blair saw that it was great, really great. And likewise created he a Foreign Secretary, who was ethical after his kind, and Blair saw that this was not quite so great, and created he then even more Spin. And so, having made a Cabinet in his own image, Blair subdued it and had dominion over it. Then rested he after his labours in the land of Tuscany.

Watson Weeks

No 3613 Set by Leonora Casement

We'd like some modern proverbs for the year 2000. As many goes as you like, to be in by 27 January.

E-mail: comp@newstatesman.co.uk

This article first appeared in the 17 January 2000 issue of the New Statesman, The plot to keep us puffing