By allowing Russia to stage the summit we have accepted her as one of us, says Anne Applebaum. This G8 will give its tacit approval to the theft of private assets, the destruction of the rule of law and the violation of human rightsFor sale, the advertisement might read: One very large Russian energy company. Estimated assets, including oil wells, reserves, refineries: $60 billion. Possible liabilities: four major international lawsuits, a part-time CEO who works full-time as President Vladimir Putin’s deputy chief of staff, and a certain — shall we say — lack of clarity about whether the company legally acquired most of those assets at all.
Brussels‘I really like your magazine,’ says the president of the European Commission, welcoming The Spectator to the inner sanctum of his suite on the top floor of the Berlaymont building, the EC’s headquarters. Euro-schmooze? Of course. But, in the world of EU politics, it is progress of a kind. Imagine, say, Jacques Santer or Jacques Delors steeling himself to praise an avowedly Eurosceptic British magazine.
I must declare an interest: as a devotee of DC Comics’ Superman since early childhood, I am incontinently prepared in advance to enjoy every radio show, television series and film that features him. So before seeing this one, Superman Returns (which opens here on 14 July), I was ready to give it a good review, and I have not been disappointed. It’s a cracker. Christopher Reeve look-alike Brandon Routh does not have to act — his task is to be tall, to fill the famous suit well, and to keep still for the cameras when in flying pose, and he succeeds on all counts; so there are no problems there.
When facing an audience of ambulance workers in a speech last Friday, Andrew Lansley had the ideal joke to warm them up. ‘People always imagine politicians are a bit brain dead,’ he said. ‘Well I am — and I have the MRI scan to prove it.’ He was being absolutely serious. In a freak medical incident while playing cricket in Kent 14 years ago, the shadow health secretary became one of the 150,000 people in Britain to suffer a stroke.