The first thing you should know about the Spectator wine club is that it isn't a club at all. You don't have to belong, and there is no membership fee. Why it is even called a club I have no idea. Perhaps it is meant to convey a sense of exclusivity. Anyhow, we do one main offer every month, two before Christmas, and between offers we have a 'mini-bar', usually offering four wines linked by a common theme.
Wine has been collected since the late 17th century by everyone from Thomas Jefferson to Andrew Lloyd Webber. Not much has changed either, except the idea of wine as an investment - any suggestion that wine might be sold on for a profit, effectively creating a wine stock market, would in days gone by have made any gentleman choke on his venison. But the most important considerations for buying wine are the same as ever, namely to know what to buy, who to buy it from, when to buy it, and how much to pay for it.
This is a good question and the knee-jerk reaction for those with plenty of money to spend would be to think of silly City bonuses and high-end, classed growth Bordeaux, beloved of the pin-striped fraternity. While this does have its attractions one would be wise to hold off until the highly acclaimed (and much hyped) 2005 vintage is available. But I can see little advantage of buying this en primeur (in futures) so maybe this is a consideration for subsequent windfalls.
The philosopher David Selbourne says that Israel’s battle with Hezbollah is a microcosm of a worldwide struggle. While the West is in moral crisis, Islam is seizing its chance to become the Church Militant of the 21st centuryTruth is generally the first casualty in war. On the battlefields of the Middle East, especially when Israel is involved, Reason also has a hard time of it. For neither Israel nor the Jews are seen — whether by themselves, by their friends, or by their foes — as a nation and a people like others.
Fifty years since Suez, and this week the cauldron boils over yet again. Some of the ingredients are different. Britain and France used force in a way they would not now dare. The United States in 1956 had the power to stop the crisis which it has now lost. Most Arabs today accept the existence of Israel, but fail to impose that acceptance on those still bent on its destruction. Israel still tries to safeguard its citizens by using overwhelming force which breeds hatred and future danger.
WashingtonIt is not to be. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a more than passable classical pianist, had blocked time in her summer diary for a pleasant meeting with some of the 700 music students attending classes and performing at the Aspen Music Festival and School.President Bush has other ideas. Instead of the cool breezes of the Rocky Mountains, Rice will find herself in the hotter-than-hot Middle East, attempting to bring an end to the two-front war in which Israel finds itself engaged which, in past flare-ups, has been bad news for the Israelis.
In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Norman Podhoretz, the distinguished American journalist and neoconservative godfather, penned a series of articles describing the attacks of 11 September 2001 as the opening shots of what he called ‘World War IV’. For Podhoretz, the more commonly used construct ‘global war on terror’ is too generic. Placing 9/11 in its proper context requires fitting it into the grand narrative of contemporary history which, as Podhoretz sees it, began in 1933 in Berlin.
Yo — Reader! How are ya doin’? Hot and bothered, I suspect; sticky and irritable. And no less so for having been addressed in such a manner, or for being reminded that this is how the leader of the free world addresses those who do his bidding, the lickspittle minions who bring him gifts of questionable knitwear at world summit meetings. (Apparently it was a Burberry jumper our Prime Minister gave to George W.
‘I’m going to take my tie half-off,’ Sir Menzies Campbell announces. ‘Feel free to do so.’ It is a sweltering afternoon in his office, and there is no etiquette governing how men should strip off in such circumstances. I lower my tie knot an inch or so. He takes off his jacket. I follow suit. ‘There’s nothing I can take off,’ pipes up his press officer, sitting beside me in a dress. Sir Menzies blushes, stutters and moves straight on to the subject: his relaunch as leader of the Liberal Democrats.