- You cannot hope
- to bribe or twist,
- thank God! the
- British journalist.
- But, seeing what
- the man will do
- unbribed, there's
- no occasion to.
An Alisher Usmanov update for you.
This delightful fellow who I mentioned a while back, who is so keen to buy up Arsenal Football Club, has announced himself "very surprised by the hostility" he has met with in the UK and has launched a media charm offensive. Something a little tricky for a man naturally stronger on the offensive than on the charm. (Google a photo if you've never seen him... I can't bring myself to befoul my own blog with his toadlike visage.) Anyway Usmanov invited a selection of journalists from major British papers on a paid for jolly involving private jets, 5* hotels, lavish dinners, wine, and (curiously) big coffee table books on Russian art.
Luckily these upstanding gentleman of the press defended those noble British values integrity and journalistic impartiality. No? what can you mean? This case to me reveals the profound and unpleasant malaise in our societies whereby if you are rich enough, it really doesn't matter what you do, how, and to whom. Can we throw him to the enraged and slavering Napoletani, please? Happily Craig Murray's website is now back online, so at least someone is putting an alternate perspective out there.
Of coure, I am not an expert on Uzbekistan. I have read newspaper articles on the country and on Russian politics, and formed my own opinions accordingly. In my judgement, Murray's arguments have been more convincing than anything I've read on the other side. That's not to say that Murray must automatically be followed in everything he has to say; I'm not in a position to scrutinise the evidence myself. But from being an issue about football club ownership - one which I happen to think is extremely important but which I accept is not necessarily of interest to all - it has become one of freedom of speech, and openness of debate. And that matters to all of us.