On March 14th, a Tibetan friend emailed me with this inscrutable message: “Here I meet many problem. Maybe you hear that. I can’t say for you in the mail.” March 14th seems to have been the most furious day of protests in Lhasa. That I had heard, but couldn’t be sure it was the ‘that’ my friend was talking about.A long silence, then I heard from him again: “Everywhere kill many Tibet here … Kill me no problem.
Gerald Warner says that Scotland’s Conservatives, far from standing their ground on devolution, have jumped with relish on the gravy train of the Holyrood parliamentThe Scottish Play has degenerated into a farce and the indigenous Tories have lost the plot. When the constitutional future of the United Kingdom moved centre-stage in late 2007, Unionists were heartened by the deftness of touch David Cameron brought to this issue.
Salman Rushdie tells Matthew d’Ancona that the idea at the heart of his new novel set in 16th-century Florence and India is that universal values exist and require robust championsThe last time I interviewed Salman Rushdie was, as he remarks, a lifetime ago. That was in February 1993, in a safe house in north London guarded by Special Branch officers, only four years after Ayatollah Khomeini sentenced him to death for the alleged blasphemy of The Satanic Verses.
On the night after the presidential elections 12 days ago, a British diplomat, Philip Barclay, witnessed the count at the little outpost of Bikisa deep in rural Masvingo. This part of Zimbabwe is Zanu PF heartland. In all five presidential elections since independence in 1981 the people of Bikisa had voted solidly for Robert Mugabe — and there was little expectation of anything different this time.
Inspired by the new American hit TV show, Rory Sutherland — The Spectator’s own ‘Wiki Man’ — says that the capture of the Brown government and almost everything else by advertisers and marketers could be a great leap forward. Persuasion is better than legislationAs an adman myself, I am always delighted when I see one of my colleagues off to work in No. 10, or to advise a political party — even though I’m a little worried that, after working with Sir Martin Sorrell for a few years, David Muir may find it hard to cope with Gordon Brown’s relatively chilled management style and his breezy, hands-off approach to delegation.
When he talks about North Korea, Jean-Baptiste Kim still looks wistful. ‘They treated me like a prince,’ he says. ‘Sometimes I wish I could go back.’ He can’t. If he did his life would be in serious danger, because for 11 years Kim was a spokesperson for the Kim Jong-Il government. For 11 years, he was a public defender of a despotic regime that, human rights groups say, tortures its citizens, denies them freedom of information and incarcerates many of them in gulag-style prison camps; a regime that is responsible for the famine that looks set to sweep North Korea this year.