On a recent drive in downtown Mogadishu with ten heavily armed bodyguards, I passed the site of the old US embassy, and observed a melancholy scene that Britain and the USA might ponder if they decide to bale out of Iraq early. The embassy has been totally demolished, either out of hatred or because Mogadishu’s benighted inhabitants need bricks with which to build their hovels. The site is now a forest of thorns browsed by camels.
Ross Clark shows that Tony Blair’s new theory of justice is both sinister and historically illiterate I don’t know whether Maria Otone de Menezes, the mother of Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian electrician shot by police at Stockwell underground station on 22 July, has hired the services of a PR firm, but even Max Clifford could not have timed better her arrival in Britain. As Mrs Menezes and other members of her family surveyed the spot where her son was summarily executed on suspicion of being a terrorist, the Prime Minister was on a stage in Brighton saying this:
‘We are trying to fight 21st-century crime — antisocial behaviour, drug-dealing, binge-drinking, organised crime — with 19th-century methods, as if we still lived in the time of Dickens.
On Monday morning, a tense young politician was rehearsing a speech. The performance was less than fluent; the delivery was far too fast. The youngster’s peace of mind did not benefit from his growing awareness that he was being overheard. A number of journalists had managed to slip into the hall.
Twenty-eight hours later, the rehearsal turned into the live performance. David Cameron had decided to speak without notes or an autocue.
Dominic Midgley on how Britain’s service industries are busy separating London’s free-spending New Russians from their cashA senior member of the Chamber of Commerce in Moscow once said that any mention of the word ‘oligarch’ had the average Russian reaching for a gun. That’s because much of the population is furious at the way the national wealth was passed to a handful of hustlers in a series of sweetheart deals with Boris Yeltsin.