After the undemocratic farce that passed for a European Parliament election, MPs think it is downhill all the way to the general election in the early summer of 2001.
I was away for a few days and I had only two things to read. The first was The Count of Monte Cristo. The other was a collection of "bar-room jokes" given away free with an issue of FHM magazine.
Plastic madonnas, glow-in-the-dark crucifixes, technicolour posters of the Pope - they're all part of the Lourdes experience, a kitschy, Catholic consumerism that draws millions of pilgrims to the shrine in the Pyrenees. Religion reduced to a collection of crass trinkets.
I have been very unsociable of late. A decline caused by age? Possibly. Anyway I grasped the opportunity to attend a friend's wedding last Saturday. I had almost forgotten how to dance, but the party went swimmingly well.
The groans and moans are raising the Pugin roof at Westminster. You can hear sighs and whispers and even the odd cry. But this isn't another case of canoodling MP and researcher overheard consummating their passion; it isn't two Members going at it hammer and tongs in between sittings.
Recently I have been shocked and appalled by the behaviour of certain sections of the press. The sanctimonious posturing of the broadsheets over the antics of the tabloids really gets on my wick.
James and Fiona are going to have a simply splendid wedding. They've found this beautiful little chapel in mid-Wales that is really Presbyterian but is quite happy to go non-denominational for the day in return for a hefty contribution to the parish fund.
Nothing can be allowed to embarrass Tony Blair. That's the most common explanation at Westminster of new Labour's decision to run the party's national executive elections three months early.
You know the section of A Question of Sport, What Happened Next? Well, what happened next?
Dole Chadee, Joey Ramiah and Ramkalawan Singh will hang on Friday 4 June.
In the Macedonian refugee camps, the Kosovars are still reeling. They had never seen anything like it - a VIP dressed in an open-neck shirt.
As Nato announces another "heaviest night yet" of bombing, with paralysed hospital patients among the latest victims, the truth of how and why the war began remains elusive. Nato disinformation has been largely successful. The complete list of targets hit has yet to be published in Britain.
"I'm sorry to ring so late," said a woman's voice at the other end of the phone, "but I've applied for this job with a think-tank, and they've asked for a top academic reference, and you're the only person I could think of who knew my work well, and so I wondered if you could write and say that
The previous editor of the New Statesman, Ian Hargreaves, for a brief period called me "Mr Montserrat".
I've made a cheering discovery at a moment in my life when I could do with one.
He may not have a people's poet but he has a people's general. Staff and officers at the Ministry of Defence are fuming that General Sir Charles Guthrie, chief of the defence staff, has fallen under the spell of Commander-in-Chief Tony Blair.
So there I was at Cannes and there he was and I could tell just by looking at him that he had done something very bad indeed. Yes, I was in the same room as Tom Parker Bowles the night before the tabloids revealed the shocking truth.
It's four weeks since I stopped checking my e-mails and I'm feeling better already. I'm even thinking of taking out a small advertisement in the Independent so my real friends will know that there is now no point sending me electronic mail because I won't be reading it.
Tony Blair was so worried that Nick Jones's revelatory Sultans of Spin might upset him that he dispatched a minion to Politico's bookshop to buy a copy as soon as stocks arrived.
I went to see England against Sri Lanka, the first match in the cricket World Cup. This isn't going to be an authoritative account of the match because I make a strict rule of not going to a cricket match more than once in a decade.
It is more than a decade since I was last in Dover. The miners and P&O ferry workers had been on strike in quick succession. Dover had a radical edge, enriched by a wave of migrants over time.
The justification for Nato's attack on Serbia, now the outright terror bombing of civilians, was the Serbs' rejection of the "peace accords" drafted at Rambouillet in France in February.
Could I ask a small favour? Even if you only intended to check out the general subject of this column before getting back to something more important, like shredding cabbage, would you be so good as to keep your eyes on the words in front of you and not let them wander aimlessly down the page?
Nelson Mandela is finally saying goodbye to the world of politics. In a ticker-tape parade through Johannesburg, he accepted the plaudits of his people and refused any future role in public life.
I won't be taking up BSkyB's offer of a "free digital dish and decoder box". If ever I get short of something to watch on TV, there's always the TV version of Peter Hall's production of The Oresteia which I taped in 1983 - unless the tape has decayed or been eaten by rats.
Why were Margaret McDonagh, the Labour Party general secretary, Ken Jackson, general secretary of the engineering union AUEW, and the party's chief fixer, Frazer Kemp MP, discreetly at table together in the members' dining room at Westminster four days after the elections in Scotland and Wales?