The Third Leader: Normality resumes

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Many of us, as was noted in this space yesterday, look to cricket for its reassurance of a familiar order. While that is temporarily interrupted, I thought some soothing evidence of other sectors carrying on as normal might be helpful.

Big Brother has finished, but, elsewhere, the world of entertainment is ticking over nicely. I've mentioned Madonna's kind offer of Kabbalah water to neutralise nuclear waste; yesterday, two other reliables, David and Victoria Beckham, launched their his-and-hers perfume range in Oxford Street via proxy lookalikes, an interesting development which we expect to see extended eventually to a Lookalike Premier League and Parliament.

Peaches Geldof and Lily Allen have fallen out. The McCartney divorce continues. Barry Manilow has limped off stage in Las Vegas with hip trouble. The Rolling Stones fared better at Twickenham in front of an experienced audience. Sir Michael had a good joke about the venue they should have been playing: "I think Wembley's going to be ready for the farewell tour of the Arctic Monkeys."

There have been several of the usual surveys, showing that a third of workers would like a new boss, 13 per cent of trains are running late, lorry drivers think car drivers drive badly, car drivers think lorry drivers drive badly, plumbers, electricians and locksmiths drink the equivalent of 1.3 bathfuls of tea every year, and 79 per cent of their customers talk about the weather.

A crashed car in Essex has been given a parking ticket. A driver in Dorset has been fined for flicking cigarette ash out of the window. The Government launched a campaign. Tesco is introducing another odd fruit. Rain later.

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