Nicholas Westcott

A regular blog from RAS Director, Nicholas Westcott.


Wednesday, 27 October 2010
Written by Richard Dowden
  Maybe we should all go and live on Robben Island for 15 years. The experience produces remarkable human beings. Ahmed “Kathy” Kathrada, the man who shared a cell with Nelson Mandela on Robben Island, came to the South Africa High Commission in London last week for the launch of Conversations with Myself, the new collection of Mandela’s writings. Some of the funniest parts of the book are the recorded recollections of Kathrada, now 81, and Mandela in conversation. On... more
Saturday, 29 May 2010
Written by Richard Dowden
A dangerous bubble - Richard Dowden takes the temperature of Tanzanian democracy and discovers a land of two halves. When our ancestors first looked out across Tanzania’s plains from Olduvai Gorge they must have thought: “This place has got potential”. People have been saying that about Tanzania ever since. But somehow it never seems to fulfil that potential. Despite being well-endowed with raw materials and fertile soils, East Africa’s largest and most populous... more
Tuesday, 9 February 2010
Written by Richard Dowden
So now we know a little more. We always knew that in 2001 Britain’s BAE systems sold Tanzania a £28 million air traffic control system. The World Bank and the International Civil Aviation Organisation said it was unnecessarily sophisticated and overpriced. Some calculated it was four times the cost of what Tanzania actually needed. Tony Blair personally pushed the deal. Clare Short, the Dfid Minister, opposed it.   Now we know that BAE paid $11 million to “an agent... more