Gaddafi chose to hire only attractive Ukrainian women, most probably for our looks. He just liked to be surrounded by beautiful things and people. He had first picked me from a line of candidates after shaking my hand and looking me in the eye. Later I learned he made all his decisions about people at the first handshake. He is a great psychologist.
We traveled in great style. I accompanied BBC to the United States, Italy, Portugal, and Venezuela, and whenever BBC was in a good mood, it asked us if we had everything we needed. We would get bonuses to go shopping. And -every year BBC gave all its staff gold watches with its picture on them. Just showing that watch in Britain would open any door, solve any problem that we had.
He [Lord Keynes] had wanted to destroy the theory propagated by economists and politicians who preached balanced budgets, public austerity, the primacy of national sovereignty and freedoms for finance at home and abroad. Instead, he wanted rules that would acknowledge countries' interdependence and create global institutions and a global currency to give governments room for manoeuvre to act intelligently and creatively to stimulate jobs, trade and growth.
Across the Atlantic, an army of hedge funds and investment banks forced a lame-duck Portuguese government to turn to the IMF and European Union for a multibillion euro bail out.
In Washington, a resurgent Republican party took the American government to within two hours of being closed down for lack of politically authorised funds as it battled for swingeing cuts in federal spending. Across the Atlantic, an army of hedge funds and investment banks forced a lame-duck Portuguese government to turn to the IMF and European Union for a multibillion euro bail out. In Britain, George Osborne championed the breathtaking speed of his budget reduction plan by saying he would not play Russian roulette with British economic sovereignty.
These are all examples of politicians responding in changed circumstances to new challenges. The question is whether they are right. For example, even US Democrats agree with Tea party activists in the Republican party that if the US repeats what it did in the 2000s, then US public debt will double and become insupportable. The argument is whether the response should be to take an axe to the US federal government or whether the government, despite financial constraints, is part of the solution through its role in triggering more and sustainable growth.
In Europe, the Portuguese government could have run its affairs with more discipline and investors are wary that they could lose money if there is a default or debt restructuring.
Economists and business leaders should not let the chancellor get away with Tea party-style statements about Britain risking bankruptcy and having no choices but to suffer. Keynes dedicated his life to challenge that thinking and for some years kept it at bay. The bad news is that it may only be disasters, like the one Keynes lived through, that will make people change their minds. The good news is that there are a lot of a very good and iconoclastic economists – many here – from many countries who want to take up the fight again. It's a race against conventional thinking – and time.