Competition - Win a bottle of champagne

No 3682 Set by Margaret Rogers

We asked for the real meaning of "I'm not a racist, but . . . " (or any of that ilk).

Report by Ms de Meaner

Ooh, you stars. What a pity I didn't set this a week earlier. It would have been so helpful to all those poor darlings trudging round knocking on doors. There were a few entrants who sent in lots of suggestions, of which one was brilliant. Here is a selection: "We live in an information economy" (We have to be sparing with the truth); "I wouldn't mind paying a little more in income tax, but . . . " (Nothing would persuade me to vote Lib Dem); "I do not believe in negative campaigning" (I have less dirt to dish on the opposition than they have on me); "I'm in favour of children's rights, but . . ." (Being smacked did me no harm). £15 to the winners; the vouchers go to David Silverman.

- "The only real poll is the one held on election day" (Our own private polls tell us we're trailing badly)

- "I'm your original floating voter" (I'll be spending election day at the pool)

- "Tony Blair is not a real socialist" (A genuine socialist should not be able to increase the size of his majority)

- "I'm not against Europe, but . . . " (I was mugged in Barcelona seven years ago)

- "It's time for Common Sense Conservatism" (We've tried everything else - so what the heck!)

- "We want to be in Europe, but not of Europe" (This is meaningless bollocks, but it's a marvellous soundbite, isn't it?)

- "I'm not against refugees, but . . . " (Ann Widdecombe would make an excellent PM)

- "I'm leaning towards the Lib Dems" (I don't know what to think)

John O'Byrne

- "I've voted Labour all my life" (My opinion doesn't count any more)

- "I'm not bothered who wins, I won't be voting" (Leave me alone. Big Brother's on soon)

- "I think the people would rather hear about . . . " (I'm not answering that)

- "I've already answered that question" (I'm still not answering that question)

- "He is out campaigning in the constituency" (He is hiding from the media)

- "I wish the incident had never happened" (Did you see it? Left jab, straight on his chin! Fantastic!)

- "£8 billion" (£20 billion)

- "I'm voting for Shaun Woodward" (I've got my head up my arse)

R Ewing

- "I am not against Europe, but . . . " (I am all for it as long as Britain - and by Britain I mean England - is not expected to be part of it. Take a look, if you will, at a map of the world and notice how close England is to Europe. Clearly, if the Good Lord had wanted us to be part of Europe, He could have achieved this quite easily. But He chose not to. Obviously, therefore, He had his reasons. Perhaps, out of all of His earthly creation, He wanted just one part of it - not much to ask - to be free of foreigners. Free of people cheating at penalty shoot-outs and song contests. Somewhere where His creatures are not so obsessed with sex that they even have masculine and feminine words. One tiny part of the universe where He could get a decent pint and plain, honest, unseasoned food, and where He could speak the language, remarkably unchanged since the original King James Version. There is a place for Europe in the Eternal Plan. Across the Channel.)

David Silverman

- "I'm not against John Prescott, but . . . " (I like ministers to be servile)

- "I'm not against devolution, but . . . " (I own a cottage in Scotland)

- "In the old days . . . " (I am 25)

- "Say what you like about Margaret Thatcher . . . " (I enjoy a good firm put-down)

- "I am not racist, but . . . " (I live in Budleigh Salterton)

- "I do not wish to turn the clock back, but . . . " (I am still a member of the SDP)

- "I do believe in the Church of England, but . . . " (I am a bishop)

Will Bellenger

"We've always made it abundantly clear that . . . " (We've always adopted a strategy of mind-numbing obfuscation, designed to ensure that we can't be held to account for anything. And I am about to muddy the waters even further)

- "I'm glad you asked me that question " (Where's Alastair, for God's sake?)

- "It's all in the manifesto . . . " (I hope! I haven't had a chance to read it yet)

- "Would you let me finish, please!" (Got to keep talking, even if it's rubbish. Paxman has a nasty glint in his eye)

- "There is no instant solution" (There is no solution)

- "It's going to take time" (It's never going to happen)

Watson Weeks

- "I'm no racist, but . . . " (I am a racist, but I want to find out if you are a racist before saying another word. If you're not, then I just can't get used to the smell of that cooking. If you are, then I hate the bastards!)

- "I'm not against Europe, but . . . " (I was overcharged once for a cup of tea in Calais, and it wasn't like real tea, and nobody spoke any English, and when I went to the toilet there wasn't any paper)

- "Call me old-fashioned, but . . . " (I don't do a lot of thinking for myself)

Basil Ransome-Davies

No 3685 Set by Keith Norman

According to Andrew Collins in the Radio Times, there is a medically recognised vowel disorder called Bogart-Bacall Syndrome: fatigue caused by a low-pitched voice. To have one's name in the medical dictionaries is the ultimate in celebrity. Can we have some interesting diseases associated with famous names, past or present. Max 200 words and in by 21 June.


This article first appeared in the 11 June 2001 issue of the New Statesman, There are years of fun to come