Philip Bobbitt tells Matthew d’Ancona, we must start from scratch if we are to beat the terroristsCometh the war, cometh the guru. South of Baghdad, insurgents shoot down a US helicopter, killing two US servicemen, days after five British military servicemen died when their Lynx was brought down in Basra. Iran’s President scornfully rejects the EU’s latest desperate bid to stop him building nuclear weapons.
William Hague tells Fraser Nelson that the Tory party has changed completely since he led it — and that the best advice he has given David Cameron is dietaryWilliam Hague had almost cracked Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata when David Cameron called him back to front-bench politics. He has been teaching himself to play the piano since he resigned as party leader; he drank a bottle of champagne that night and woke up to find that a concerned neighbour had left him a teach-yourself book so that he could fill his time.
BucharestIn 1950s Romania, as Stalinist terror descended, a mania evolved for hunting down ‘foreign spies’. Early victims included former staff at the British military mission in Bucharest, some of whom were shot for their services between 1944 and 1947. Even doormen at the mission, or secretaries, were sentenced to hard labour. As the terror spread, to have frequented the British Council library in Bucharest was enough to bring charges of ‘espionage’.
This year’s most compulsive television viewing came on BBC News 24 last week, when they interviewed the wrong man. They were doing a story about the legal battle over registered trademarks between the computer company Apple and the Beatles’ record label, Apple Corps. They intended to speak to an acclaimed information technology expert, Guy Kewney, but some hapless researcher went to the wrong reception area and somehow brought into the studio Guy Goma, a Congolese business graduate with an extremely limited grasp of the English language.
Lynchburg, VirginiaJohn McCain has definitely had happier days than last Saturday. As he mounted the podium at Virginia’s Liberty University, once memorably described by its founder, his long-time enemy, as a ‘bible boot camp’ he had a wistful, almost haunted expression. When it was his turn to address his audience of starry-eyed Christian students, there was none of the usual McCain passion and verve.
My fiancé is engrossed in a book called Happiness by the economist Richard Layard, from which he reads aloud pertinent statistics. ‘People are happiest in the year they get married,’ he will lugubriously announce, ‘and after that it’s downhill all the way.’ Or: ‘Having children does make you happy, but only for two years.’ Or, plangently, as the evening light begins to fade: ‘Most people are happiest at the end of the day.