mainly because I realise that the die has been cast, and anything else I could say has probably already been said. I also feel that the understandable interest in the US election has dominated the agenda so much that we have taken our eye off the ball back home. I was going to write piece about how many US citizens have passports – but that has really been overdone. I was reading an article in the Times today (the newsagent had sold out of the Independent – did it have a particularly good front page today?) about how pupils are dropping foreign languages now that it is not longer compulsory. While John Kerry got pilloried for being able to speak french, we in the UK have nothing to crow about on that score. British tourists can have the reputation for visiting our European neighbours and trying to make themselves understood by shouting loudly in english. When I was working in Brussels, I regularly met people who were fluent in four languages (french, english, flemish & german). The neglect of modern languages in our schools is a backward step and will do nothing for our reputation across the channel.