I am launching a programme in Warsaw to help people develop cultural foundations and social skills. I know, that sounds a bit vague but basically most people I meet dont seem to know much about art, music, literature and, well, how to hold a fork. Perhaps you dont think it matters but it does. How else do you develop imagination and charm, self-confidence and empathy? If you are interested, please let me know.
Since the Second World War and the dismantling of the British Empire through war debt and American insistence, 25% of the world’s surface for those of you too young to remember or too ill-informed to know, successive British governments have followed a policy of soft diplomacy. The results of this are significant. Yes, diplomatists have become less educated, less gentlemanly, less impressive but BBC World Radio and now BBC television bring a return that far outweighs their cost. What’s more, they are representative of the best of British.
Thomas the Tank Engine and Jeremy Clarkson and his chums on Top Gear probably have more influence than any embassy or trade mission has ever had. And no bad thing because, although at the moment Britain is presenting a pretty dim example of a mature democracy and I was nearly arrested for being under the influence on a bicycle while leaving the home of a British diplomat at 2 am a week last Friday night, Britain is still has a lot to teach and to celebrate, even if the governemnt and people of Britain don`t always recognise the fact. May I recommend two outstanding on-line services: BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service. They are impossible to beat.