The Third Leader: Season's greetings

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The Independent Online

It is all too easy, as a commentator, to make the mistake of exaggerating your influence. Only on Monday, for example, I made an impassioned appeal for everyone to be nicer to Tom Cruise. And on Tuesday, Paramount announced they were dropping him. Sorry, Tom. Thanks, Paramount.

Still, I refuse to become too downhearted, as, following an even more impassioned appeal last Friday for people to abandon the smug charms of Venice in favour of that other canalled colossus, Birmingham, we report today that Mr Owen Arthur, the discerning and charming Prime Minister of Barbados, is spending his honeymoon in the Mighty Midland Megalopolis.

Cynics will claim that, given the presence of a prominent holidaymaker on his beautiful island, Mr Arthur simply took the first available flight out. The facts belie this. However, since Mr Blair is back tomorrow, I should warn owners of Birmingham villas to prepare for calls from Downing Street exploring the possibility of a short loan around half term.

Elsewhere, as we also report, another of my concerns, the Silly Season, is also going well, although there is still no sighting of sheep rolling over cattle grids. Cows, though, have stepped in: a current report has them speaking with regional accents, including, naturally, Brummie; and last week one fell over a cliff on the Isle of Wight and nearly crushed a sunbather.

And so, with two Druids from, ah, Cowbridge arrested in Croatia for disrobing too far, Geneva parks insisting chihuahuas wear muzzles, Mr Guy Goma snapped up by Hollywood, and Jordan voted "Britain's favourite fake-tan celebrity", I feel safe making my own brief excursion. See you in September.