The End Of The World
Week 11

James Leavey's

WEEK ELEVEN

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By James Leavey

Just seen the results of yesterday's British local elections.Two council seats have been won - the first in nine years - by the extreme right-wing, British National Party, much to the horror of the rest of the country.As if that wasn't bad enough, a 'monkey' has swung to power in the Hartlepool mayoral election.Formerly better known as the local football team's mascot, H'Angus Monkey, a.k.a. Stuart Drummell, clinched his new appointment as Mayor with the aid of a local campaign pledge of free bananas to schoolchildren. 

H'Angus takes his name from a local legend dating from the Napoleonic Wars when a ship was wrecked off the Hartlepool Coast.Local fisherman found the ship's monkey dressed in a military-style uniform, and after interrogating him, they hanged the poor animal as a suspected French spy.Let us hope that they at least had the decency to offer him a last cigarette.

The good news is that Britain's anti-smoking politicians will have been greatly encouraged by H'Angus's success; it's only a matter of time before they remove those human masks and reveal themselves for the monsters they really are.

Then there's that story of a new menace behind an estimated million skirting boards in Britain - a new breed of supermouse. In London alone, the mouse population has increased by 14 per cent.What makes them stand out from their less successful cousins is the fact that they are more resourceful and more ruthless than ever.And they have stopped acting predictably, i.e. they won't go into mouse-traps. Even worse, they're resistant to the usual rodenticides.

Maybe it's time we bred a new race of super-smokers: intelligent, considerate, nicotine-friendly adults who refuse to fall for the 'you're killing me with all that passive smoking' arguments, and are prepared to fight for the right to smoke in public areas. 

Meanwhile, researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich have found mice lacking a gene called CRH1 drank more alcohol after stressful experiences than normal animals.Maybe there's a CRH2 gene, for people who smoke more after being publicly humiliated by total strangers. 

Talking of stress, it's time for another slug of Glenmorangie, and the firing up of a Fox robusto.


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