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London’s good, bad and ugly 

There are two big news stories in London at the moment. The encouraging one is the visit of the International Olympic Committee’s evaluation team to run its collective rulers over the London 2012 bid (incidentally, something is very wrong at the main domain — all that appears is a directory leading to the English or French sites, with no bells or whistles).

I’m very pro bringing the Olympics to London, because I love both the city and the event, but principally because I don’t think you’ll find better all-round sports fans than the British. It would be wonderful.

A bare majority of Londoners agree with me because there is a mood of pessimism and carping that remains common in England. Maybe an Olympic win would dispel that once and for all.

Sadly, the other story concerns London mayor Ken Livingstone’s refusal to apologise for crass remarks to a Jewish reporter for the London Evening Standard.

Ken has always been a loose cannon, occasionally ill-advised. What he has made evident, however, is how casual anti-semitism remains acceptable on both the left and the right in Britain.

Here’s the evidence from just the last couple of days. On Wednesday, The Guardian ran a mildly amusing article about 40 reasons why London is better than Paris (that Olympic contest again). Here’s reason 24:

  The Phantom of the Opera, Paris: lived in the Palais Garnier, which looks like a piece of jewellery a South African Jewess might wear…

And today brought news of an interview that the odious Princess Michael of Kent had given to a German newspaper. She thought the reaction to Prince Harry’s Nazi uniform had been unjust (there wouldn’t have been such a storm, she argues, if he’d worn a hammer and sickle). “The press has a different sensibility because of its ownership structure.” No decoder ring necessary for figuring that one out.

Silent blog 

Apropos my comments yesterday about the future of the World Economic Forum weblog, I think it’s notable that it’s the one weblog that has had nothing to say about the controversy in which it found itself in the middle.

Similarly, the Forum’s official website provides no comment. I think that’s a very old fashioned communication strategy.

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