On a nostalgic return journey, Janice Warman wonders why the Eastern Cape is not thronged with tourists…The Eastern Cape has a bloody past: it’s where the English were settled to defend the frontier against the Xhosas in the 1820s, and where the terrible forced removals of the apartheid years happened. It’s the birthplace of Nelson Mandela. And it gained lasting notoriety worldwide for the death of Steve Biko in custody, a death that led to the film Cry Freedom, which portrayed the friendship of Biko and the liberal newspaper editor Donald Woods.
I came to the conclusion a long time ago that the best way to deal with a phobia is to tackle it head-on in the most extreme way possible. I countered my fear of heights by completing the world’s highest bungee jump and of snakes by trying to hunt down a mamba in Zambia. I’ve cage-dived with crocodiles, but this time, it was my shark phobia that I wanted to defeat.The centre of great white shark activity, I discovered, was the town of Gansbaai a couple of hours drive up the Eastern Cape from Cape Town.
There’s more to South African wildlife than just the ‘big five’, says Taffeta GrayAnyone who has been on safari in South Africa will boast that there is nothing like seeing the ‘Big Five’. Even if you are in the bush yourself, thrilled at having just spotted one of the great beasts, you’re bound to find someone who insists they’ve seen better. The trick is not to compete with the naturalist know-alls, but to outsmart them.
On 9 May 2003 I was having dinner with Nigella Lawson, Charles Saatchi and Dominic Lawson at the Rib Room of the Carlton Tower Hotel when the subject of who would make a good leader of the Conservative party came up. Iain Duncan Smith was struggling and didn’t look as though he’d last the year.‘I think Dominic would be perfect,’ said Charles.‘I think I could do it,’ said Nigella. ‘I could get a seat and be leading the party within five years.
As a former Sun editor, I didn’t see why voicemail hacking bothered celebrities – until it happened to meIt was the kind of building George Smiley would have been happy to call home. Anonymous and bleak, it’s the home of Operation Weeting, where 60 officers flog themselves to death every day in the biggest Scotland Yard inquiry in anyone’s memory. I am here by appointment. A charming woman detective has called me a couple of times — when you are a former tabloid editor that’s worrying in itself — and asked me to drop by ‘at my convenience’ to look at the fact that my name and mobile number had been found in the paperwork of the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.
William Hague always knew the euro would go up in flames. But now he’s focused on the rescue operationPoliticians normally have to wait for history to vindicate them. For William Hague, vindication has come early. All his dire predictions about the dangers of the euro, so glibly mocked at the time, have come to pass. But as he makes clear when we meet in his study in the Foreign Office, he is not enjoying this moment.
Why is it all going so wrong for George Osborne? Only 16 months ago, the poor guy entered the Treasury full of sound principles and good intentions. He would put in order the dodgy public finances inherited from Gordon Brown’s regime, stand back and let market forces do the rest. The Office for Budget Responsibility would certify that he had.Within a short period, the benign influence of sound finance would restore confidence in the private sector; and room for it to take up the running in promoting national economic growth would be created by reining back the bloated public sector.
Gay marriage will never jeopardise straight marriage. But it can provoke political divorce.In America a new generation of Republicans is challenging the traditional consensus of their party on gay marriage. They — as well as some of the GOP old guard like Dick Cheney — are coming out in favour. In Britain the subject is also back on the agenda with the coalition government, at the insistence of the Prime Minister apparently, planning a ‘public consultation’ on the matter.
My day started with a bang — or rather, a right hook and a left-right jab combination. A friend in Moscow rang me excitedly, revealing my father had punched someone live on Russian television. I don’t condone violence, but I couldn’t help but find the video clip amusing. Eventually, I got through to my father. He explained that Sergei Polonsky, a corrupt property developer who has long associated with the yet more reprehensible former mayor of Moscow Sergei Luzhkov, was being rude about ordinary Russians and, also, threatening him.