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Tuesday, December 22, 1998 Published at 17:15 GMT

Talking Point - September

Review of the Year
The embarrassment of Bill Clinton testifying on video about his affair with Monica Lewinsky led us to ask "Should he go now?"

American Alice Klara spoke for many in differentiating the president's professional and personal lives:

"Let Bill continue his job. He is doing a great job _ I think this is one of the best presidents we have ever had, and his private life has nothing to do with how he is running the country."

'MF' from the UK felt similarly: "America, America! In your own words, 'Wake up and smell the coffee!' This president has done a fantastic job for your country. If the world is laughing, they're not laughing at Clinton, but at the ridiculous way the American media, Starr and the Republicans have handled this situation.

On the other hand, Linda from Arizona shouted: "YES! It's time for him to go. What an embarrassment to this great country of ours. He should never have been elected in the first place."

Colleen Ressler of the US looked at the employment side of Mr Clinton's relationship with an intern: "If the director of my agency did that, she would be out on her ear within days of it being discovered."

Off with her head!

The news that all national symbols will be excluded from the new euro notes led to the question "Should Europe axe the Queen's head?"

Wynn Wilson was one of many to have a strong reaction: "Absolutely NOT. Have we all gone mad? Britain will soon cease to exist as a country."

The UK's Simon Burn similarly reached for the caps lock: "Absolutely NOT! I am proud to be British, and the monarchy and our heritage is what make our country one of the best in the world."

The UK's A Jones, however, felt that the monarchy was not the be-all and end-all of Britishness: "If a national symbol is needed then we should find something more up-to-date and inspirational."

James Bartlett of England argued from the euro-perspective: "The Queen is obviously our head of state and not the European Union's. Why should her picture be on notes that can be used anywhere in Europe?? Britain is still stuck in the past and the single currency is the first step out into the future."


"Is capitalism under threat?" followed warnings by arch-capitalist George Soros about the future of the world's economy.

"Good! We could use a shake-up. The global economy should serve the people of the world, not brutalize and enslave it _ by the values of so-called free trade," was the view of Jim Vinsel of the US.

Another American, Forest Pierson, echoed this reforming ethos: "I believe a balance of capitalism and socialism is needed. Corporations and global financial interests need restrictions such as charters. Social responsibility has to be a priority."

Henry Parker of the UK, however, saw no danger: "There is no viable alternative to capitalism for one. You miss the point that capitalism has undergone worse crises than this ie the world depression in the 1930s and survived them."

And Bryan Brander of the US reduced matters to Man's base nature: "Capitalism is based on greed and I don't see any of us losing that quality yet. Capitalism will stand until man has a change of heart."

Anachronism or beacon?

Disappointing crowds and the absence of some top stars begged the question "Have the Commonwealth Games lost their meaning?"

Andrew Woodgate of England had no doubt: "The Commonwealth serves no useful purpose in the late 20th century. Why bother to have Games, therefore?"

Brendan Marshall of the US argued in similar vein: "Once upon a time they were called the Empire Games. That was when Britain had an Empire. Now that the Commonwealth has one leg in the grave it's time to call it a day. Give them a decent burial."

But the Games had their defenders, such as Elwin Tennant of the UK: "I am becoming sick and tired of the greedy commercialism currently sweeping through sport. The Commonwealth Games show sport as it should be."

And from a sporting perspective, Paul Eglen of England pointed out: "If the Commonwealth Games have had their day so then have the European Athletics Championships as the standard of competition in many of the events at the Commonwealth Games is much better."

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Talking Point - January

Talking Point - February

Talking Point - March

Talking Point - April

Talking Point - May

Talking Point - June

Talking Point - July

Talking Point - August

Talking Point - September

Talking Point - October

Talking Point - November

Talking Point - December