Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Blair - a British PM destroyed by a US President

OK, so to say that Blair's been "destroyed" may be just a tiny bit over the top. Let's not forget that this is the guy who has won three elections, and who has already had nine years as PM. All before the age of 55.

Problem is, though, that he won't be remembered for that.

He'll be remembered for his need to see himself as Bush's best buddy - and the reckless foreign policies that he was forced into pursuing as a result of this. Particularly in the Middle East.

He's like one of those children who just have to be friends with the biggest bully in the playground.

That's Blair through and through. Because of it, he'll be remembered as the Prime Minister who took the UK into the Iraq on a false prospectus, and then stood by the US line on Israel's outrageous attacks on Lebanese children - and, as a result, made his country infinitely more vulnerable to terrorist attack.

What's more, the dissembling, the spin, the plain lying have all been exposed. So he'll be remembered not for his successes (and there have been successes - particularly in N Ireland, and the overall UK economy), but for two things: Iraq, and spin..

And, of course, most of the worst of the spin was deployed in the service of the policies on Iraq. Dr David Kelly, anyone?

One just wonders whether the Blair legacy would have turned out differently had the neo-cons not taken over the White House. I suspect he'd be in a far happier place now had that been the case.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Eliane Elias - seek her out!

There is an awful lot of stuff going on in the world that makes me deeply uneasy.

Sorry, American friends, but the conduct of your government in the name of "freedom" (ie, our chums coining it to their hearts content) is becoming a genuine threat to world peace.

But let's not go there.

Last night I drove across southern England from London to my Devon base. A dark night, a w and a half hour drive. And I started out at 9-15.

On the stereo: my old heroine Eliane Elias.

Now - for those of you who don't know, she is a Brazilian born jazz pianist. Her music is informed by her DNA, yet she has taken on board a wide range of influences.

She can play soft, she can swing hard. Oh. and she can sing.

But the key thing about Eliane is that she is an incredible enthusiast, who clearly loves what she is doing. And her music, even the mellow stuff, is incredibly optimistic and uplifting.

So in the hour before the start of the brilliant Late Junction on Radio 3, I played Eliane, from the most recent album (Dreamer) and also from an older cd called Paulistana.

I urge you, dear reader (assuming there are any!) to check these recordings out.

And do let me know what you think.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Hello. Here's my very first foray into the world of the blog.

And I don't have time to do much at this point in the day. The supper is on, and needs attention.

But first, why the name?

It's simple. Sassicaia is an Italian red wine - and it is to die for.

It's a "super-tuscan", produced on the coast at a little place called Bolgheri.

Find some, and enoy,

But be warned - it does not come cheap!

Now - back to that cooker. I'll be back.