Super Tuesday was meant to be the decisive day in the Obama–Clinton contest. Instead it was an indecisive super-muddle. Both candidates did only what they needed to do and no more. After California was called for Clinton, Missouri ended up going for Obama — a turnaround which ensured that the evening ended in a score draw but with Obama leading on away goals. It was meant to be the night that Hillary Clinton was anointed as the Democratic nominee presumptive.
Should members of Britain’s beleaguered and persecuted bombing community be subjected to intrusive surveillance techniques such as bugging? It seems a bit illiberal, given their very real difficulties in day-to-day life. Hard enough trying to find a safe place to hide all that fertiliser, castor beans, etc., without having to worry if your whispered conversations after Friday prayers are being eavesdropped upon by some spook.
The peril in Venice is the people trying to save it. But save exactly what for precisely whom? Venice is a corpse. It died in 1797 with the last, preposterous old Doge eased out by the French. Napoleon then insulted the Venetians by calling the Piazza San Marco Europe’s finest drawing-room. Now the drawing-room has become an undisciplined, overpriced, fatigued international playpen. In 1494 an itinerant Milanese canon, Pietro Casola, said there was nothing new to say about Venice.
He is sending back a bottle of 1965 Croft because it ‘doesn’t taste right’. I know that the odds of it tasting identical to the bottle we just drank in Pétrus are slim to none even if we were sober. He is miffed at the lack of label and they bring back the cork. I exchange an exasperated look with the sommelier, who woefully nods at yet another example of an Essex wide-boy embarrassing himself, and quietly brings another bottle.
This was it: as soon as I stepped through the door of the offices of Khaled Mishal I held out my flimsy plastic folder and jabbered away in English to the four slick-suited men who were my reception committee, trying desperately to make clear that, yes, there was a potentially lethal weapon in there. I smiled and pointed sheepishly to the scissors, and they were confiscated before my cameraman and I were allowed to pass through the airport-style security portal.