Debate about Geert Wilders and his anti-Koran film Fitna is everywhere in Holland. Newspapers, television shows and private conversations are awash with apprehension.Since the murders of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh, and the hounding into exile of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wilders is the most prominent critic of Islam in Holland. With his shock of blond hair and startlingly frank language, the MP and leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom is instantly recognisable.
Tired of Euro-Sloane bores in Chelsea, Venetia Thompson tours the clubs of Harlesden, the UK’s ‘gun capital’, and experiences a world where a firearm is as normal a status symbol as a Chanel handbag or a Rolex watch would be in SW3I am dancing slowly with a Portuguese friend to beautiful Zouk music from Cape Verde, sung in Creole. He suddenly throws me against the wall behind him and shoves me down towards the ground.
John Hutton, the energetic Secretary of State for Business and a few other things, has reason to be pleased with the expressions of ‘significant interest’ in constructing new nuclear power plants that he has received from British Energy, EDF Energy, E.ON UK and Iberdrola — the British, French, German and Spanish utilities — respectively. These are among the handful of companies in the world with the knowhow and financial resources to build and then successfully operate these capital-intensive and complicated plants.
When the sun lowers itself into the Pacific Ocean, west of California, it has a way of lingering on the horizon that makes you imagine it will stay for ever. It is perhaps less bright than at its zenith, but more beautiful. You don’t want to let it go. Then, just as you are sure it won’t disappear, it does.The other day, my older son and I walked along the beach near my father’s house between Los Angeles and San Diego.
On a recent visit to Henan Province in China I hurt my back and had the good fortune to come across the best doctor in the country. This is Doctor Wang Daifu. Being the top medical student in the most rigorously elitist and competitive system in the world is serious. Just as there are 20 million people studying the violin or engineering in China there are also tens of millions studying medicine — Eastern or Western, or both.
I hope you are enjoying ‘White Season’ on the BBC — a brave and groundbreaking attempt by the corporation to devote 0.003 per cent of its airtime to issues which bother 92 per cent of its licence payers. One of the senior commissioning monkeys at the BBC, Richard Klein, admitted that white people — some of whom he has met — have been underserved by the corporation, and especially ‘working-class’ white people.
‘I am and always have been an activist,’ says Paul Boateng, the British High Commissioner to South Africa. ‘As a lawyer, a Methodist lay preacher and now as a diplomat, that is what I am. It is how I have been brought up and I can’t imagine ever being anything other than that.’ Boateng’s posting comes to an end next May and somehow one can’t quite see this Hackney-born, one-time firebrand of the Greater London Council allowing himself to be quietly packed off to the Lords.