So I’m sitting at home dealing with an email backlog, and the Test Match isn’t very good, but I still want it on anyway, because I’m like that, but we don’t seem to be getting Sky Sports through our telly cable thingy anymore, so I have Radio Five Live coming through the telly, and it turns out that if you have the Radio Five Live coverage you don’t get the interruptions for the Shipping Forecast (which is only on Radio Four Longwave), and have to listen to the commentators’ wittering nonsense through the drinks break.

The Shipping Forecast is one of life’s small but real pleasures, and one of the only reasons to stay Home rather than heading off to live Abroad. (Though I dare say you can get the Shipping Forecast on R4 LW in Northern France.) What have we done to be deprived of it here on Radio Five Live?

(Some of us still haven’t forgotten or forgiven about Finisterre.)


In an effort to kick-start the Laurent-Fabius-Watch, in which the Virtual Stoa will track its man all the way from referendum victory in 2005 to the Elysée in 2007 (or not, as the case may be), Dan sends me a summary of the latest developments in the French Press:

* Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a likely rival for the socialist nomination for President in 2007 is sticking the knife in with a suggestion in an
interview with Le Monde that Fabius should be removed from his position as no.2 in the Socialist party hierarchy.

* Meanwhile, Claude Bartolone, a Fabius sidekick, is counter-suggesting that he should be promoted to lead the PS’s preparations for 2007 — though stopping just short of calling for him to replace François Hollande as the Party’s First Secretary — according to this piece in Libération, which has the splendid phrase in it, “A troika of elephants”.

More soon, probably.


A friend alerts me to this diary piece in yesterday’s Independent:

* The sad death of Patsy Calton, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cheadle, has already set Westminster buzzing with talk of a by-election.One man in the running for the knife-edge poll is Tim Collins, the former Tory frontbencher, who lost his seat (also in the North-West) to the Lib Dems at the general election.

Collins has previously told friends that his preferred route back onto the Conservative benches would not be a by-election, since “he’d prefer to go through a normal selection process”.

The marginal Cheadle (maj 4,000) will be tempting, though: it offers a chance for revenge on the party that booted him out of office, and would catapult Collins, a Harry Potter lookalike, into the thick of power-broking over his party’s leadership.

Not meaning to be macabre, etc., but why did the Lib Dems pick these various candidates on the brink of death to fight their seats? Was it just a Midlands/North-West thing, or were they doing it all over the country? Perhaps we’ll find out over the next few weeks and months.

Too Poignant For Words

From today’s Guardian, in a piece about what happens to those who lose their seats at election time:

I had hoped to talk to Tim Collins, former shadow education spokesman and the most prominent of the Tories who lost on May 5, but he too has gone to ground. “His defeat was totally unexpected,” says a press spokesman at Conservative campaign HQ. “He has had many requests for interviews, but has declined them all.” Little wonder: Collins is 41, a politician from the cradle, living and breathing the Westminster air. He has not just lost his job; he has lost his oxygen supply.

Has Tim Collins never had a proper job? (The things I still don’t know about this enigmatic man! But, hang on, what did he get his CBE for, if not for something not-entirely-politics-related? He might not be Tim Collins CBE MP anymore, but he is still Tim Collins CBE.)There are signs at Borders bookshop in Oxford advertising a forthcoming appearance by Tim Collins, but, sadly, it’s not the Tim Collins of the Stoa, but another chap with the same name.