Neil Barnett recalls his encounters with the poisoned spy who has had the bearing of a marked man for years. The Russian intelligence services, Litvinenko told him, are purely political organisations, whose only purpose is to shore up Putin’s powerThe hotel off a main square in a central European capital was a seedy, low-budget place. When I asked the receptionist for Alexander Litvinenko in room 38, she looked at me blankly, then after some rooting around said, ‘We only have a Mr Jones in room 38.
If you need reminding why France is so aggravating, pay a visit to the political hometown of Ségolène Royal, newly selected as the Socialist candidate for next spring’s presidential elections. Melle, a small market town between Poitiers and the port of La Rochelle, has been Royal’s political base camp since 1988, when she was first elected to the national assembly. On paper, Melle should not work.
A man I know who works for a large multinational corporation recently took the decision to trade in his people carrier for a Toyota Prius. Very eco-friendly, you might think, but as with so many apparently ‘green’ consumer choices, there’s more to it than meets the eye. For one thing, his girlfriend was so cheesed off — she wanted him to get a BMW — that he bought her a Mini Cooper by way of compensation.
In this exclusive article, Nursultan Nazarbayev presents a different picture of his homeland to the caricature of Sasha Baron Cohen’s film. It is a thriving, optimistic nation. We like!As the task of reconstructing Iraq has turned out to be more difficult and more bloody than Western governments anticipated, I believe that the recent history of Kazakhstan can provide an important lesson for would-be nation-builders.
The government is, on behalf of you and me, involved in the worst type of man’s inhumanity to man — torture. Yet with the honourable exceptions of William Hague and Andrew Tyrie, the Conservative party, the party I wholeheartedly support, the party that talks of compassionate conservatism, is failing to speak out about it when it should be shouting from the rooftops. Think of your wife or child screaming in unbearable pain, deliberately inflicted.
First it was peanuts; now Jesus Christ has been banished from the cabins of British Airways aeroplanes. What will be next to fall victim to the apparently arbitrary scythe of censorship of the BA executives? The airline — which once enraged Margaret Thatcher by replacing the Union flag on the tail fins of its fleet with representations of radical mullahs invoking intifada, single mums taking smack, colourful gypsies and homosexuals, or something — has aroused British public opprobrium once again.