Diary

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The Independent Online
As thousands of Bosnian refugees struggle to survive another night in the fields and mountains near Tuzla, they may take some comfort in the knowledge that 30 years from now, when General Mladic has settled into peaceful retirement tending his allotment in Surrey, he will be brought to trial, paraded on the front page of British newspapers and justice will at last be seen to be done.

In the meantime, the Muslims can only reflect bitterly on the irony of the United Nation's guarantees of safe haven. As Douglas Hurd might have said, we promised to look after them in safe areas. As it's pretty obvious to anyone that those areas aren't safe any more, it's a bit much to ask us to help now. To quote the old Muslim proverb: Life's a Bihac and then you die.

As the Government comes under fire over the Greenbury report on boardroom pay excesses, ministers resort to the old argument that if the report has managed to leave everyone dissatisfied, then Sir Richard must have got the balance about right. But the Government still has a trump card. By entrusting the inquiry to the chairman of Marks & Spencer, it ensured that if it didn't like his report, it could always take it back and change it.

To Australia, where Tony Blair left his mark on Rupert Murdoch: in the shape of a pair of lips somewhere round the back. But doubts remain - was it wise for someone so keen to exercise power over the people of Britain to associate himself publicly with a man who holds such right-wing views? Or was Mr Murdoch just poorly advised?

The Prime Minister last week showed just how confident he is after his recent endorsement by an overwhelming majority of MPs. How else could a Chelsea fan single-handedly take over the pitch at Millwall? With membership of the Cabinet now a major competitive sport (last one round the table gets transport), the first initiative of his new campaign for sporting excellence should be an end of term prize-giving. The winners? Ken Clarke for the 400 metres (two straights with a U-turn at each end), Nicholas Scott for the sprint (away from the scene) and, of course, John Redwood for the high jump. Meanwhile, one of our leading sportsmen, Colin Jackson, followed the sterling example set by government ministers by bunking off from the national team in favour of a lucrative job elsewhere.

The news that Prime Minister's Questions is to be revamped raises a number of, well, questions. What form could replace the noisy bearpit of the current tradition while still appealing to the public? What better than Des O'Connor's much-loved yes/no interlude? "Will the PM be seeking to cut taxes?" "Yes." DONG!

We're all used by now to the idea of ministers moonlighting, but I must admit to being foxed by last week's headline in the Telegraph: "Michael Howard to act on child sex tours." Does Equity know about this arrangement? And can we look forward to more politicians taking their show on the road? Forthcoming attractions include: Tony Blair in She Loves Me, Gordon Brown and Donald Dewar in Les Miserables and Jacques Chirac in South Pacific, featuring that old favourite "Some exploded evening."

Songs for Singing Serbs, Part One: "(And I was only) 24 hours from Tuzla" - Gene Picni and the Ethnic Cleansers. "Sarajevo seems to be the hardest word" - Elton John and the Western Allies. "Please appease me (let me grow)" - General Mladic and the Warlords.

At the third strike, the railways grind to a halt again as the negotiators press forward their demands to a chorus of: "I think I can, I think I can". I can claim some experience of this as last year I worked for Railtrack - I used to have a train set when I was eight, which apparently qualified me to man the main signal box between Glasgow and Carlisle. Sadly we've seen less of the jolly smiling face of Jimmy Knapp, who, I learnt last year, is the same age as Cliff Richard. Who knows, maybe he's lurking in the Shadows, waiting to call out his men with a quick chorus of "We're all going on a summer holiday, no more working for ... as long as it takes to get together around a table and sort out a binding agreement in the interests of all our members and the industry as a whole." All this can only come as another blow to rail executives, who only last year were ambitiously looking into the possibility of breaking into the Telecom market by using the communication lines running alongside their tracks. This raised the intriguing prospect of flushing the lavatory in Crewe and electrocuting an operator in Birmingham.

The law has finally caught up with Robert Gipters, who fired a starting pistol outside John Major's house last month. The magistrate told him he had been very stupid and irresponsible in carrying out the attack while under the influence of alcohol; the implication being that if he had done it while he was sober, he'd have made a better job of it.

Amid all the talk of a Bill to protect the privacy of individuals, spare a thought for the Dean of Lincoln, the latest vicar to hit the headlines. Just because he's a heterosexual doesn't make him a bad person. And anyway, I thought the Church of England was moving to a more lenient line on adultery, even going so far as to redraft the Ten Commandments. After all, it's not as if they're carved in stone.

As the last part of the bridge linking the Isle of Skye to the mainland is put into place, it comes as a sad blow to those romantic Scots who still believe their country is unspoilt by tourism, that life will go on usual, and there are still ferries at the bottom of their garden.

High excitement at the British Grand Prix, with Damon Hill claiming the crash occurred as a result of his misreading Michael Schumacher's intentions. And he has a point: normally if Germans are going to run on to the shingle, they put a towel down first. And so the circus moves on to Hockenheim. Whatever the outcome, though, racing fans are all agreed. Juan Fangio, there's only Juan Fangio. Or rather, there was.

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