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Clarke escapes to Estonia

While others sweated their way through the union conference season, Charles Clarke has been sunning himself in foreign climes.

His decision not to deliver the traditional Education Secretary's speech at the NUT bash was a calculated snub: retaliation for the union's refusal to sign the workload deal. But to where did the Clarke family decamp? The Diary guessed it would be a trip to New Labour's heartland: Tuscany... or perhaps Provence or Languedoc, which seem to have supplanted the Italian olive groves in the affections of Blair's blokes and babes recently.

How wrong we were! The Clarkes were actually to be found in the distinctly Old Labour-sounding locale of Estonia. His office offered no more details, so the Diary decided to do some research into what the country might offer.

Though it boasts one of the highest homicide rates in the world, its capital Tallinn is apparently destination "of choice for adventurous lads in search of wild times" according to a recent travel piece in the Guardian. The country is covered with beautiful forests, wild fens, empty beaches, and shining lakes. Expect a dangerously rejuvenated Education Secretary to return from the east.

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