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Ian O'Doherty: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

Honestly, there are times when it looks like Fine Gael has some weird subconscious self-loathing thing going on where, deep down, they don't think they deserve to be in charge.

First there was Inda's big huff about appearing on Vincent Browne. It wasn't good PR -- even though we know where he's coming from. After all, as one of my mates pointed out the other day, Vincenzo is slowly morphing into one of those weird little aliens in Mars Attacks! who goes around shouting 'yak yak, yak yak' while incinerating people with his ray gun.

Kinny may have redeemed himself slightly on The Front Line on Monday, but FG have just lost themselves a whole load of votes with their insane decision to bring back stag hunting.

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports summed it up well when they said: "They are off to a bad start by threatening to repeal an act which has banned gratuitous cruelty to vulnerable animals."

But, as ever, this column has a safe and humane solution.

Why not replace the stag with disgraced bankers? And we can make a deal that if they survive the hunt all their debts will be forgiven.

And if they don't?

Down with racist . . . mice

If we have learned one thing from the whole Andy Gray/Richard Keys scandal, it's that some people are just desperate to have that delicious thrill of being offended.

It makes them feel righteous, indignant and far more morally upstanding than you or me.

As I said at the time, Gray deserved to be sacked because what he engaged in amounted to sexual bullying, whereas Keys just made a prat of himself in his utterly cringeworthy attempt to be one of the boys.

Now Sky Sports are running scared of any controversy and have forced Glenn Hoddle to apologise for his joke in relation to Torres the other night.

Torres was having such a bad game and his touch was so off that Hoddle said he reminded him of the Chinese footballer 'Knee Shin Toe'.

It's an old gag and not a very good one at that, but cue immediate outrage from offended viewers who demanded that Hoddle immediately apologise or be sacked.

I think Glenn Hoddle should apologise for the sin of being Glenn Hoddle -- but it was a ridiculous storm in a tea cup.

Now even that has been put in the halfpenny place by a controversy surrounding a children's programme on CBBC.

Rastamouse is a Jamaican puppet that speaks in a patois and helps people solve crimes.

But maybe not for much longer.

Rastamouse has been accused of "perpetuating a racist stereotype" and encouraging kids to smoke dope because he's Jamaican.

Um, isn't that perpetuating a racist stereotype in itself?

But, really, when you find yourself ringing Ofcom to complain about a woollen glove puppet, you really know that you've too much time on your hands.

Um, slight double standard, perhaps?

Even non-Arsenal fans will admit that when they turn it on there are few other teams who can be as pretty as a picture on the pitch. So pretty, indeed, that Arsene Wenger bitterly complains about the roughhouse treatment his delicate little flowers suffer at the hands of bullies.

So it will be interesting to see what he had to say ahead of last night's match against Barca when Jack Wilshere said: "We have to get in their faces and show them what we're about. We need to be a bit nasty to get the ball back."

Really? I wonder what Wenger, who is looking increasingly like Professor Yaffle the owl from Bagpuss, would say about that.

Actually -- we all know what he would say: "No, I did not see that."

Well, there won't be too many tears shed, will there?

It's art, Jim, but not as we know it

The Turner Prize is well known for being . . . well, for being a bit shite.

London's trendiest artholes all vie to see who can create the most controversy and then they sniffily look down their noses at the rest of us plebs who think that pretending your messed-up bed is art is ridiculous.

And the award for this year's most pretentious piece of work goes to Roger Hiorns, who has been nominated for his work Naked Flame, which sees a naked model sitting on bench watching a small flame slowly go out. (See what he did there? Naked and flame -- that's why he gets nominated for prizes, you see.)

This is bloody ridiculous.

He gets people to sit naked on a bench and is hailed as an avant-garde hero. I sit naked on a bench just the once and I get my name added to the bloody sex offenders' register.


The revenge of the black knight

One of the things you have to admire about the Aussies is that they're a tough bunch. After all, when you're descended from convicts and the landscape is so full of nasty, biting, stinging things that even going to the loo could see a spider biting your old Chap, you need to be tough.

But they're not all like that.

In what amounts to the best intro of the year, Ananova reports that: "A male nurse needed emergency treatment after being attacked by a man with no legs and only one arm."

They then go on to tell us that the 50-year-old patient "flailed his stump" at the nurse.

Honestly, you know you've had a bad day when you have to go home and tell the missus that you just got battered by a man with no legs and only one stump of an arm.

Irish Independent