When it was behind the Iron Curtain, Poland used to have an image of a rather dull dour country where people turned to vodka to brighten up their lives. Of course all that has changed, and the fairy-tale towns and cities, many rebuilt after the war, are bright and colourful, and there's a surprisingly vibrant food scene.
Surely a Conservative Prime Minister has preserved Britain as a global force to be reckoned with, even after the follies of his predecessor in Afghanistan and Iraq? Not so much. Despite William Hague's belief that a strong, capable Army, Navy and Royal Air Force is necessary to protect us from traditional threats and combat the malevolence of terrorists, the Conservative Party seems to have either disregarded Reagan's theory or confused it for "strength through weakness."
May 8, 1945. London. Winston Churchill stands alongside King George VI and other members of the Royal Family on a Buckingham Palace balcony, waving to a crowd of thousands who've gathered to celebrate with him the fall of Germany, and victory in Europe.
During the 80s, with artists I managed, I visited most of Eastern Europe's capitals. All of them smelt of decay. Buildings were dilapidated and hotels grubby. You could be arrested for taking a photograph where you shouldn't, or walking down the wrong street. In Moscow, the hotel staff were indistinguishable from police. "Your flight is cancel. You will delay 48 hours. We will retain your passport. Eat in the designated place."