7 Days

Who are you? The quality of candidates available to Liberal Democrats as they elect their new leader has so impressed voters that, according to a BBC poll, 65 per cent simply don't know which of the magnificent seven should replace Paddy. Or is it, as Peter Snow suggested, that they just don't care?

Safe Sex Spice Geri Halliwell's role as a UN goodwill ambassador has got her into trouble with the Catholic church. Ginger told women in the Philippines that protecting themselves from unwanted pregnancies and infections was a human right. The church begged to differ: "Any effort at safe sex is utterly immoral from top to bottom."

Bush telegraph No lip-reading needed to discover the presidential ambitions of George W Bush. The Texas governor told Republican Party workers: "I'm running. There's no turning back." With a 10 per cent poll lead over Al Gore, Bush looks well placed to run all the way to the White House.

Hail from jail Advice from Belmarsh Prison's newest celebrity to those trying to escape the paparazzi: try a stint inside. According to a letter to his mother, Jonathan Aitken has found prisoners friendlier than cameramen and guards kinder than the Guardian. The guest list at the next Aitken dinner party could make interesting reading.

Pocketing the difference The £6.7 billion takeover of Asda by the American chain Wal-Mart should allow Archie Norman to spend more time with the Conservative Party. An expected £6 million windfall should come Archie's way in a deal that seems certain to spark the fiercest supermarket price war yet.

New Hague The new, confident, winning William Hague has acted swiftly to stamp his authority on the shadow cabinet. The biggest casualty is the born-again wet Peter Lilley, whose recent anti-Thatcherite speech has cost him the deputy leadership. Five new faces join the team, all as recognisable as Lib Dem leadership contenders.

This article first appeared in the 21 June 1999 issue of the New Statesman, Better to shop than to vote