Being Mental Now A Career Option

THE government is to pay the unemployed to hang around shopping centres pretending to be clinically insane, it emerged last night.

Ministers want to exploit the full potential of Britain's worldwide reputation for potentially dangerous eccentrics who loiter outside shops, clutching kitchen utensils and muttering about the fish-headed ones.

A spokesman for the department for employment and learning said: "After the success of our scheme to pay genuinely mentally ill people £15 a week to take their pills, something went 'ping!'.

"You can never have enough oddballs. So why not take people out of the dole queues and pay them to act a prawn ring short of a buffet for eight hours a day? They are a huge tourist draw and enrich the country's cultural fabric."

Former farm manager Roy Hobbs has recently taken up a £24,000 a year position as lunacy facilitator at Swindon's Brunel Centre.

He said: "My job is to sit in a wheelchair wearing one of those comedy hats that looks like it's got a knife through it, brandishing a wooden lizard at passers-by in a way that's simultaneously threatening and pitiful.

"Once a week I get to work from home calling local radio stations and asking the presenters in a very loud voice if they want to come in my helicopter so I can cut their hair."

Meanwhile ex-cab driver Wayne Hayes now makes up to £80 per day as a freelance 'square peg' for Birmingham City Council.

Mr Hayes said: "My main role is to go into Habitat-type shops and pull my tracksuit bottoms down. I then wander around with my arse and balls on display, nonchalantly examining curtain rails like I haven't a care in the world."

He added: "It's a great job but it's difficult to switch off and I often catch myself naked from the waist down at family functions."

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Benitez Clears Desk Following Message Of Support

LIVERPOOL manager Rafael Benitez was last night clearing the family photographs from his desk after the club's owners gave him their full support.

The statement, printed on the back of a jobseekers allowance application, stressed that while the board felt they had the right manager, they also acknowledged the fans' view that he was about as much use as an air freshener that smelled of cat faeces.

Co-owner George Gillett said: "We don't blame Liverpool's terrible start to the season on the man whose job it is to make sure that doesn't happen. Nevertheless, it is hardly my place to overturn centuries of traditional Merseyside effigy-burning."

Benitez has been criticised over his decision to sell Xabi Alonso within months of de-friending him on Facebook. Meanwhile he has also been under fire for spending £20m on flat-pack midfielder Alberto Aquilani, who arrived at Anfield in a large cardboard box with all the instructions in Italian.

Gillett added: "It's business as usual. This Saturday we'll be flicking bits of meat pie at him from the directors' box before disconnecting his Blackberry and cancelling his petrol card. All with our full support."

Liverpool fan Tom Logan said: "I'm not fickle. Rafa brought European success, a genuine title challenge and the best striker in the world. But losing to Fiorentina does now mean that I want to fire him out of a cannon. Into a volcano."

But the Liverpool manager insisted that whatever the club's current faults the squad did now contain 100% less Harry Kewell than when he arrived.

Benitez added: "What's in the cardboard box? Oh, it's just some coffee mugs, a few photos, a mini desk fan and loads and loads of pens."