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IT may be the season of goodwill to all men except those inhabiting the Axis of Evil but a few cosy certainties took a knock this week.

We're not talking here of the traditional ride on the money-go-round. Preand post-Christmas sales fell short of expectations - not exactly comforting in a global economy dependent on shopping, but there's still plenty of dosh out there.

And we're not talking of religious observances either. Churches and chapels towered like caverns over their thin congregations as most Christians pursued the real meaning of Christmas by opening gifts supposedly left by a supernatural being and preparing for the ritual of dinner. So no change there.

But the Christmas story itself took a knock, and sad to say it's our own newly arrived but already outspoken Archbishop who must take some of the rap.

Where once we were used to speaking of the Three Wise Men, for instance, we now know them as goofy Upper Class Twits woefully ignorant of the political consequences of crossing international borders on camels, blabbing about a new world order.

You had to agree with the Archbishop, it was hardly a wise move, especially as Herod's response was to send his soldiers to wipe out all the boy babies.

``The Three Upper Class Twits'' doesn't have the same ring about it even if they brought gold, frankincense and whatever myrrh is. And if you can't trust a churchman to avoid spoiling a story that already has enough improbabilities to compete with Harry Potter, who can you trust?

Certainly not politicians, who appear determined to rein in the tradition of the Boxing Day Tally Ho for a cunning killer they know only as Basil Brush.

Pest control in its wider aspects merits a different approach, and the pack is assembling to seek out a certain Iraqi fox in his den - and this one is without a cuddly doppelganger to fool the uninformed.

A foretaste of what is to come was delivered by British and American warplanes that bombed an Iraqi mosque and killed three innocents on Boxing Day. Humane pest control is not for humans.

North Korea, meanwhile, is busy developing its own nuclear bomb. This small present to the world is totally unconnected with North Korea being named as one of the Axis of Evil that the United States plans to attack in its War of Terror.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Dec 28, 2002
Previous Article:London Diary: Let's do it all again next year.
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