Naked Brown Coaxed Off Trafalgar Square Plinth

A NAKED, shivering Gordon Brown was finally coaxed off the Trafalgar Square plinth shortly after 8pm last night.

The prime minster had spent four hours exposing himself to fascinated tourists at the end of what Downing Street aides described as a 'particularly stressful day'.

The prime minister took control of the plinth at around 4pm after winning a nude wrestling match with Justin Holwell, its previous naked occupant.

A Number 10 spokesman said: "We had spent much of the day dealing with the latest developments in the Lockerbie mess and by mid-afternoon the prime minister had started to twitch and hum, which is always a clear signal that he is starting to unravel.

"To lighten the mood someone mentioned there was a naked man on the Trafalgar Square plinth, and everyone had a chuckle, except the prime minister who suddenly got this weird, faraway look in his eye.

"I immediately went to fetch his pills but I was too late. Within moments he was out the door and striding up Whitehall shedding items of clothing along the way. By the time he got to the plinth he was down to nothing more than his socks and shoes."

Mr Brown climbed onto the plinth and quickly overcame Mr Holwell in what one eyewitness described as a 'quick but horrifying bout of naked sumo'.

The prime minister then stood motionless for four hours, occasionally breaking his silence to shout 'I am Gordon, here me roar' followed by a brief performance of the Morecambe and Wise 'Bring me Sunshine' dance.

Business secretary Peter Mandelson arrived at 7.45pm and gradually talked the prime minister down before covering him up with a blanket and guiding him gently into the back of a people carrier.

The Downing Street spokesman added: "We've got another nine months of this. I don't know what we're going to do."

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My Big Gap Year

Dispatches from Poppy Spalding

Wednesday: Amsterdam

AMSTERDAM! You might think that I came here for the same reasons as all the gibbering British zombaloids lumbering around the streets with nutella smeared on their chins – and maybe that is why I came. But there are more reasons to visit than the varieties of soapbar available: you can also educate your mind about art and discover what gender you really are in one of the many sex venues, which was something I'd previously had to rely on Facebook for.

The hostel is much more fun than the YHA places you sometimes get. YHAs tend to be full of bulky Portuguese girls with acne who get up at seven in the morning and set about stuffing plastic bags into other plastic bags for what seems like an eternity. But my dorm here is full of really good-looking people from cool places like South Africa and Jerusalem. Everyone just loves smoking so we sparked the jigget of peace and got down to some serious chess. I don't know how to play chess but somehow that didn't matter and I came third! Genius!

It's true what they say about how 'a smoke and a drink make you think' because after a few rounds of Amstel and several doobies, someone pointed out Van Gogh's Starry Night on the wall and we all thought about it for it like 20 minutes. The sun is a star and it's made of helium so why don't people get squeaky voices on hot days? Mental.

At that point we did what Patrick Moore must do when his brain hurts from thinking about stars: we headed down the red light district for some dirty ladies! It was my first time and I got a lapdance from a stripper who wasn't even Dutch or a lesbian but she still got really into it. She was Latvian and had a Budweiser label stuck to her bottom. She seemed pretty classy and I didn't think it was part of her costume so at the end of the dance I thought it only fair to let her know. But instead of thanking me, she told the doorman I'd humiliated her and I was asked to leave. Whenever I was in bed with DJ Rico and I had a bit of Muller-rice in my ear, he let me know immediately and I was really glad. I just don't get women.

Which is not good news because my sociology lecturer once told us that the Y gene was useless and one day the whole world will be made of lesbians, all having babies together and going to TGI Fridays to celebrate. I guess the lesson I'll take away with me is that I'll be okay as long as I stay away from glam Slavic types with sticky beer buttocks. And it's this that makes Amsterdam the greatest city in the world.