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In my column in Tuesday’s Financial Times, I suggested that the Bush administration used to be sincere about the “freedom agenda”, but has now quietly ditched the idea. Reading Craig Murray, Britain’s former ambassador to Uzbekistan, in The Washington Post on Sunday, I now wonder if I wasn’t a bit too generous. By Murray’s compellingly-written account, the whole thing was always a bit of a sham.

Murray himself is hardly uncontroversial. He argues that he has been the victim of a smear campaign by the Foreign Office, while admitting that he has led a colourful private life. Reading his article, I would suggest that if Murray is to win the propaganda war, he must learn to tailor his language for the politically-correct American market. His admission to having had several “mistresses” is indelicately phrased – surely he means “partners”.

Meanwhile, the European Commission has made an unusually blunt admission that the European parliament’s monthly commute to Strasbourg is a huge waste of money.

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