Fifty years ago today, about 6pm central time, Martin Luther King Jr stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis and waited for his friends to join him. They were off to dinner, celebrating a court victory.
At that moment, across the way at Bessie Brewer’s Memphis boarding house, the inhabitant of room 5B poked his Remington Gamemaster out of the window of the communal bathroom, took careful aim with the aid of his Redfield scope, and shot King dead.
James Earl Ray did not act alone. From the moment he was arrested, more than two months later at Heathrow airport (he was apprehended with the words “I say old fellow, would you mind stepping over here for a moment”), carrying the proceeds of a robbery of the Fulham branch of the Trustee Savings Bank, he started lying.… Seguir leyendo »
In the last days before the European referendum I appeared on the BBC with the Brexit campaigner Andrea Leadsom. I expressed my concern that, because of the terms we would secure, our trade with Europe would suffer if we left the EU. Ms Leadsom was convinced I was wrong.
She patiently explained that German car manufacturers and other European businesses would not allow their political leaders to damage trade with Britain in order to pursue political objectives. We would get smooth, tariff-free trade. European leaders would not — could not — afford to ignore companies like that.
Equally patiently, I put the counter view.… Seguir leyendo »
Charles Edward Anderson Berry was a person of great political importance. Which is a pretty odd statement to make, given that he hardly ever said or did a political thing.
Let me start with this. “He sort of had this persona of wanting to be Hawaiian, the way his hair was, his shirts. He would say he was part Hawaiian, and in a way he could look Hawaiian. I think that something with his being Hawaiian was knowing that he could be more successful if maybe he wasn’t black.”
This observation, by the record executive Marshall Chess, is not the only time one of Chuck Berry’s friends commented on what his biographer Bruce Pegg has called the musician’s “racial ambivalence”.… Seguir leyendo »
I am going to write about Silvio Berlusconi and his so-called private life. But before I do, I want to ask you a question. Could you write a serious biography of Mao Zedong and miss out the girls and the drugs? If you did, it would be a little read book.
Mao liked the girls. Even in his mid-seventies, this four-times- married man regularly invited three, four or even five women at a time into his oversized bed. The word “invited” overstates the extent of the willing co-operation of the other participants. Actually, Mao liked the boys, too, requiring that handsome young male attendants came to his chamber to give him nightly groin massages.… Seguir leyendo »
It was a glittering time. They literally swept into office, ready, moving, generating their style, their confidence — they were going to get America moving again. There was a sense that these were brilliant men, men of force, not cruel, not harsh, but men who acted rather than waited” In his stunning book The Best and the Brightest, David Halberstam captures the glamour, the drive, the élan of the men who came to Washington to help John F. Kennedy to usher in a new era. And of these men none was brighter or better than Robert S. McNamara.
When you see those playful photos of JFK in Camelot with his little children, there are always determined men there, too, with their short hair, and white shirts with thin ties and their jackets discarded.… Seguir leyendo »