A lively day.

 

First, I spent the night in a wonky hotel in downtown Lewes. The room sloped alarmingly in two directions, to the point where anything smooth risked sliding off the table. The sign in the bathroom read thusly: "Shower Mat Ensure the suckers are in contact with the bath fully pressed down" A wearying period of pushing the bath in a downwards direction ensued.

 

Then I went to the University of Sussex, waving cheerily to a pair of woman strikers at the entrance as I whizzed past their absurd attempts to persuade me to show ‘solidarity’ with their ‘demands’. My visit there was to give a presentation on European Conservatism to a genial seminar of political science students. Not a Chinese/Asian student in sight – they’re all doing sciences, not mulling over political theory. Wait! Maybe science IS political theory.

 

While all this was going on, a strange story broke in Poland.

 

Some clever-clogs had run a Properties check on the Foreign Ministry’s website version of the superb speech by Radek Sikorski in Berlin on Monday. And found that the original version of the document was called ‘More Europe’ – created by Charles Crawford.

 

Eeek.

 

Anyway, the Polish Foreign Ministry has put out a statement to the effect that for substantive and linguistic purposes the Minister had consulted all sorts of people including myself on the speech, and then written it himself , making changes even on the plane to Berlin.

 

The Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza carries the story and statement if anyone is interested.

 

So that’s that. Anyone who knows Radek Sikorski will recognise his own inimitable style throughout the text.

 

Meanwhile I have wended my way to Heathrow where I am taking a plane in the morning to Moscow, to spend a jolly weekend as an elections observer for the Duma (parliament) elections on Sunday. My first time back in Russia for years. As Lenin or someone similarly cynical said, "It’s not voting. It’s counting".