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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

I love a tenuous local link. The local free paper 'The Hadleigh Advertiser' (which is free due to the fact that nobody would pay good money for it) is carrying a picture of John Kerry, the American presidential candidate, on its front page this week, along with an article entitled 'Local links for would-be President', which claims the man has "strong ties with Suffolk".

Marvellous, I thought. Did the man grow up here? Did he work for ten years in Ipswich? Does he plan to retire to Shotley Gate?

In a word, no. It turns out that (fanfare please) John Kerry's cousin is a geography teacher at East Bergholt High School.

Strong ties with Suffolk???

Still, when it comes to tenuous links, you can't beat Lisa, who informed me of a brutal murder in Brighton last week, only to claim a strong personal involvement in the case. So brace yourself, I'm only going to say this once:

Lisa's hairdresser's daughter is in the class of a girl who lives next door to the son of the murdered pensioner.

So naturally Lisa's feeling the loss quite personally. But I'm helping her through it.

Going back to American politics, am I the only one who's getting increasingly annoyed at the way politicians will happily tell the most bare-faced and pointless lies, without the slightest hint of an apology when they're exposed?

First there was Bill Clinton a few weeks ago, who claims in his new autobiography that his lovely wife Hillary was named after Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to scale Mount Everest. An incredible feat, when you realise that baby Hillary was born seven years before her namesake conquered the world's highest mountain, and at the time Sir Edmund was working as a bee-keeper in New Zealand, and had climbed nothing bigger than a molehill.

But now Arnold Schwarzenegger's at it too. He made an impassioned speech at the Republican National Convention a couple of weeks back about his experiences of growing up in Austria under socialism, and of seeing Soviet tanks as a boy.

It's since been pointed out that the last Soviet tanks left Austria two years before Arnie was born, and all the chancellors who governed in his youth were conservatives.

So Arnie's statement that "I saw tanks in the streets. I saw communism with my own eyes" may have been just a teensy bit inaccurate. But still, that's American politics for you. And they do all have such nice teeth.

By the way, how many American presidents does it take to change a lightbulb? Two - one to change the bulb, and one to declare it a shining beacon of hope and freedom.

It's ok, I'm going now.