>Boris Yeltsin died this week aged 76. He’d been ill for a while and it was probably a surprise he was still alive. While he maybe be oft remembered for his drunken conducting in Berlin or his failure to get off the plane in Shannon, Ireland when the Prime Minister of Ireland was waiting (the plane just took off again after 3 hours!!), he helped finally bring down the Soviet Union and ruled Russia in an era of arch-capitalism, Chechen Wars and massive economic collapse. But the democracy stood. He regretted those actions but felt no choice. His legacy, despite the problems stands on. RIP.
Alan Ball also died this week. depsite his grand achievements, he was a mere 61. A heart attack got him as he was trying to put out a fire in his garden. It’s an indication of his talent he played in midfield for England throughout the World Cup in 1966 at the age of 21. A real talent who played with his heart pumping consistent fervour and energy. He also always came across as a real nice bloke. Dad knew him for a while when he stayed at the hotel for an extended period while he was manager of Exeter City. RIP.
And lastly, I know he isn’t dead but Jacques Chirac leaves office in a few days after what seems like a century. He leaves behind high unemployment, a lagging economy and a health and education and transport system any nation would be proud of. His nation also boasts a high standard of living, hugely successful conglomerates and the highest productivity in the world but its unsustainable. Like Tony Blair, he arrived with a huge mandate to set France on a path of growth but he fell into popularism and reactive politics. His re-election was as much a condemnation of French politics as a success. While his stance on Iraq and intervention in Rwanda were admired, in reality these were efforts to protect French interests. And that was his failure. He is politically, a man of the past and lacked the foresight or will to build a real legacy.
But I can’t help liking the guy. His belligerence and pure-bloody Frenchness always raises a smile. See ya.