The man who promised to reform France looks set to become a martyr to the euro – and his own abrasive personalityParis
Nicolas Sarkozy chose an unpropitious week to tell the French public he wanted to be their president for another five years. As Sarko was granting a semi-official interview to Le Figaro, addressing the nation on television and planning his campaign’s first rally for the weekend in Marseille, the bad news kept rolling in.
At Athens airport, the digital noticeboard reads like the script of an agitprop play. ‘Strike, strike, strike, strike, strike,’ it announces, next to the destinations. ‘Due to the turmoil,’ says the PR person we’re talking to, ‘all the politicians you’ve flown in to interview have pulled out.’ My cameraman, driving the Audi, seems determined to break the world land-speed record between Athens and Patras, but is thwarted by the fact that the 21st-century motorway is blocked by a mudslide.
Lord Carey of Clifton isn’t the retiring sort. He stood down as Archbishop of Canterbury ten years ago, but he wasn’t ready to end his days in quiet contemplation. At 76, he is still a public figure — more so, perhaps, than ever. He used to be dismissed as a plodding liberal; a typically ineffectual Anglican primate. Today, he is recognised as perhaps the leading British voice of Christian conservatism.
A manifesto for the BBC’s top jobMessrs Egon Zehnder, headhunters, are helping the BBC find its next director general. The involvement of these swanky international executive search agents is depressing. Their American-‘flavored’ website brags about helping companies seek ‘competitive advantage’ and identify ‘talented business leaders’. If the BBC is to have a future, it must raise its vision above such mercenary concepts.
The aid business has grown fat. It’s time there was proper scrutinySuch a simple question: should Oxfam spend a couple of hundred pounds a month opening up the swimming pool at its guesthouse in one of the nicer parts of Nairobi? It was posed by Duncan Green, the group’s head of research, on his blog, and provoked a revealing bout of navel-gazing in the aid industry.The pool was shut, Mr Green disclosed, on the orders of the charity’s head office, which feared a scandal after an advert for a pool attendant appeared on its website.
Do you xxxx? Sorry to be impertinent. Perhaps you simply xx or x? I’m not a natural x’er, but it’s hard to resist when everyone else is x’ing all over the place. Besides, if someone x’s you, it would be rude not to x back, right?
Truly, in this age of emotional incontinence, the etiquette of text and email signoffs is becoming a minefield. In the ever-intensifying arms race to display more and more emotion, even if it is entirely bogus, we are sending little figurative snogs to perfect strangers.