Microsoft's Ballmer gets a great big French gong -

The man with the quietest voice in the world has received a great honour and un whopping big gong from one of the shortest international leaders.

Mr Steve Ballmer, a US citizen and very quietly spoken, received the gong called the Legion d'honneur yesterday from Nicolas Sarkozy (pictured), the president of France but more famous for having a tall and quite beautiful missus, Carla "love lasts a long time, but burning desire — two to three weeks" Bruni, who Mick Jagger once fancied quite a lot. And Eric Clapton, or so it is related on Wikipedia.

Ballmer now joins the legion of other IT leaders who have been awarded gongs by sycophantic Western European countries.

Sir Bill Gates and Sir Lou Gerstner are honorary knights, bestowed on investiture by Her Britannic Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Gibraltar and other small places, like Droitwich.

The gong allows Sir Ballmer to drive a flock of sheep across the Seine provided there's a "z" in the month. Zut alors! [Slow news day, Jock? Ed.]