The Third Leader: Best of British

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The Independent Online

As depressing news about this country seems to be increasing at the same rate as the road charge petition, I thought I should remind everyone that, in the words of many a distinguished journalistic predecessor, it's not all gloom.

And I shall begin by saluting two Britons displaying characteristic indomitability. First, Mr Karl Bushby, from Hull, who was arrested on the Russian border last year while trying to walk around the world, and who is now having another crack. Second, Mr Norman Baker, the tenacious Lib Dem MP who has revealed the heroic travel activities of his fellow representatives, which make Mr Bushby's effort look like a gentle saunter.

Next, the troubled world of meat production. First, Roast A British Chicken Weekend (3-4 March) looks set, for some reason, to be the biggest yet. Second, British meat and livestock exports have just passed the £1bn mark for the first time in 10 years. Third, we have just exported one of our Charolais bulls to France.

In America, meanwhile, an English Springer spaniel has won their top dog show, and Michelle Ryan, formerly of EastEnders, is to star in a remake of The Bionic Woman. And, indeed, I read, there is now great demand in the voiceover business over there for British voices, which are "respected for their perceived intelligence, vocal eloquence and associated with prestige and excellence".

More? I have it. American and Italian cars are more likely to be stolen in Britain than our ones, a survey shows. And, in Edinburgh, Mr Selim Sener has broken the world record by wrapping 10 portions of chips in a minute. There.