There are four main players in the ongoing, and possibly accelerating, crisis, over Iran and its nuclear programme. There is, of course, the unelected yet ‘supreme’ leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has definitive say over the direction of Iran’s nuclear programme (Iran’s elected — in a fashion — president, the ludicrous Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has never had dispositive sway over it, and appears to be fading as a political power in any case).
Let’s not waste more millions ‘saving’ Old MastersLast week the National Gallery and National Gallery of Scotland proudly announced that they had jointly raised £45 million to buy Titian’s ‘Diana and Callisto’ from the Duke of Sutherland, thereby ‘saving it for the nation’. A few days before, Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced that it would be blocking export licences for various exhibits due to be displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the British Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Why isn’t the mayor making mincemeat of Ken?Politicians do love their five-point plans, ten-point plans, 12-point plans, don’t they? Most of the points are usually Polyfilla, the political equivalents of ‘Your call is important to us,’ but at least there’s a nice round number involved. Last week, however, with characteristic originality, Boris Johnson unveiled British politics’ first-ever nine-point plan.
I’m told that the new production of Dvorˇák’s Rusalka at the Royal Opera House is controversial. There were boos at the first night and reports of audience members walking out in disgust.I too walked out in disgust. Mine, however, had nothing to do with what was happening on stage. It was prompted by the man sitting next to me, who arrived trailing BO the impact of which could alone knock out any Iranian nuclear bomb.
Zambia’s new, white vice president on understanding Mugabe and standing up to ChinaLusaka, Zambia
Zambia’s new vice president, Dr Guy Scott, sinks into the back seat of his armoured car. Motorbike outriders clear the traffic ahead of us as we glide through the capital. ‘I am enjoying the toys, I must say.’ He means the helicopter and the two motorcades — one for the city, another for the bush.
The Borders could handle a wee bit more love: while no one wants the place to be like the Lake District, a-bustle with elderly couples in brightly coloured clothing, a slight increase in appreciation would be acceptable. Flown over, passed through, not much visited, the Borders (by which is meant the cross-border region comprising Berwickshire, Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles, and north Northumberland) is scarcely known for what it is, a land not only hooching with history and presently strong — keeping its young — but also astonishingly, ever-changingly, easy on the eye.