Category Archives: Blog

Time for Uk to win back hearts and minds

The United  Kingdom has hardly found the world at its feet this last year. The Brexit vote last summer, which was supported by over half of the population, but not by me and the rest of the population,  left not only the UK’s  European partners, but most of its democratic and accountable allies wondering just what kind of madness had gripped the English  and Welsh (for the Scots voted against) who by a slim majority had voted to leave the European Union without really thinking how this could be done …

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A Spanish hero in London: Ignacio Echeverria

A Spanish hero in London: Ignacio Echeverria As part of a former imperial power that has punched above its weight for most of its history, there are some British who do not easily look outside their own people for heroes. Ask your average Anglo-Saxon English primary school pupil about iconic heroes they have heard about and they are likely to mention two warrior Queens-Boadicea and Elizabeth I -, two warrior prime-ministers Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher, among an assortment of military icons from Wellington and Nelson to Montgomery, and James …

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Remembering Hugh Thomas

  Hugh Thomas, who has died aged 85,was a historian with an enduring interest in and passion for the Hispanic world straddling epochs, continents and empires. He also played an active part as a policy adviser to Margaret Thatcher, and in his later years served in the House of Lords as a life peer, never seeing this as place of  patronage  let alone retirement but as an integral part of an effective and accountable  parliamentary democracy. .. He had developed an interest in Spain after a first visit in the …

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Messi’s Number 10

Of the several images of a memorable El Clasico last Sunday few will endure with such iconographic intensity as that of Lionel Messi, holding up his number 10 Barca shirt to the Bernabeu stadium after scoring the defining goal against Real Madrid in the last minute of extra time. Real Madrid fans who occupied the bulk of the stadium are an exacting crowd. They expect and demand the best from their star players as they do in the city’s nearby bullring of the country’s best matadors, not least in the …

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The Genius of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

  What separates genius from the good and even brilliant is the ability of a person to evolve with the passing of time, not just to mature, but to create anew,  and still be inspirational,to remain  a  clear cut above the rest. In top flight football , as in other elite sports, the threatening awareness of mortality, the ease with which a player can go from his peak to a swift decline, from valued asset to beyond sell-by date, is only too common, sometimes with tragic consequences on the personal …

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Barca’s Sad Night

Compared to the heroism of the ‘Remontada’ against PSG,last night’s defeat at the hands of Juventus was sadly a much more mundane affair. It was huge of Barca fans in the Nou Camp to wave their flags and chant for the team as the final seconds ticked away, but the occasion did not really warrant it. Barca was crushed i their own stadium.You don’t expect that in the Nou Camp, let alone in the Champion’s League. Last night’s match showed Juventus magnificently resilient in defence and Barca less that heroic …

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El ejemplo de Churchill

A pocos pasos del terrorismo que ayer sacudió la ciudad de Londres esta una estatua de Winston Churchill,  corpulento en su abrigo de trinchera,  y con una mirada  enfocada y resuelta, toda una imagen de un pueblo que ha conocido  y sobrevivido, con orgullo  y victorioso , momentos  más amenazadores de  su historia. En el momento que el terrorista empezó su paseo endemoniado a través de Westminster  Bridge, camino del Parlamento, me encontraba a cuatro cuadras después de haber almorzado en mi club cerca de Trafalgar Square con un amigo …

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Miracle in the Nou Camp

  It was the kind of night when the Virgin of Montserrat, San Jordi,  Messi’s granny and the spirit of Catalan pride past , present and future converged on the Camp Nou. Asked before the match how he saw his team’s chances of making up the 0-4 goal deficit against PSG, Neymar  rated it at one per cent, while Luis Enrique said, “If they can score four, we can score six.” As it turned out Neymar proved one of the team’s  defining players, and Luis Enrique it’s most unexpected disciple …

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Warsaw Diary

      There was a long queue at passport control at Warsaw’s Chopin airport  on arrival from London. ‘Never happened before’ said a young polish lady. I and another British national   looked at each other with the thought passing through our minds- is Brexit already with us? It turned out there were a couple of police officers who had turned up late for their shift and in the end we all swept through the EU lane relatively smoothly- but for a few minutes it  did make one think, how …

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Barca’s Disgraceful Night

Watching FC Barcelona crashing to defeat in Paris last night gave me  a distinct  feeling of déjà vu. This was no ordinary defeat, but an abject surrender by a team with some of the best players  in the world and Messi representing  a club that prides and markets  itself  on the basis of its  integrity. Not since the Allianz Arena in April 2013 had  Barca been more humiliated by a better European team and its own total lack of moral fibre. There is a justifiable   sense of desolation if not …

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