Possibly I should be wary of criticising Facebook, in case my actions jeopardise whatever hopes there may be of its boss, Mark Zuckerberg, bailing out the eurozone. (He could probably do it, too. The man uses $100 bills as cat litter.)
But, all the same, I’m going to do it. Facebook is past it. In a few short years it’ll be as sad and lonely a ghost town as MySpace. I don’t speak as a long-standing critic. I speak as a former addict.
Yesterday, when it was floated on the stock market, Facebook was valued at $104 billion (£65.8 billion). That’s the greatest amount of money any US company has been worth on its market debut. Evidently, there are quite a lot of people, some of them very rich, who believe that Facebook is worth investing in. I hope that after buying their shares in Facebook they’ve got some money left over, because I’m hoping they’ll also buy shares in the brilliant new company I’m about to float. It’s a unicorn sanctuary run by Santa.
Thirty years ago this coming Monday, British troops began to land at San Carlos Bay in the Falkland Islands. Just over three weeks later, the Argentine forces surrendered to them. This weekend in Portsmouth, the Navy Museum is organising a commemorative conference, and a dinner on HMS Victory.
The keynote speech will come from John Lehman, who was the US navy secretary at the time. Today Mr Lehman is the most senior foreign policy adviser to Mitt Romney, the Republican challenger to Barack Obama in this year’s presidential election.
Mr Lehman will explain how, contrary to current historical orthodoxy, the Americans helped Britain instinctively, secretly and right from the start of the Falklands war. He should know, because he did it.
Mr Lehman’s key point is that this help came from the bottom up. So great were what were called “the customary patterns of cooperation” between Britain and the US that they could provide the cover for a huge operation. Weeks before the US announced its public policy “tilt” to Britain on April 30, 1982, there was, as Mr Lehman puts it, “already water flowing through the pipes”. President Reagan felt benign towards Britain, and particularly towards Mrs Thatcher, his friend since both were in opposition, but it was not necessary for him to approve anything for help to start.
Mr Chen’s departure on Saturday afternoon will bring to an end an extraordinary saga that saw him at the centre of a diplomatic tug of war between Washington and Beijing, following his daring escape from house arrest on April 22nd.
Yet while Mr Chen, his wife and two children are headed for the safety of the US, where he is expected to take up a fellowship studying law at New York University, many of his relatives remain under arrest.
As late as Saturday morning, Mr Chen said he had no idea when he would be allowed to leave Beijing. But around 12.30pm local time, he left the Chaoyang Hospital where he has been held since May 2nd in a motorcade for Beijing airport and a fligth to New York.
So swift and unexpected was his departure that Mr Chen and his family arrived at the airport without passports and not knowing their ultimate destination.
“I still have no passport. I don’t know when I am leaving. I think I am going to New York,” he told reporters by phone.
As unrest continued to spread in Syria, the Prime Minister last night told fellow world leaders that more must to done to stop Bashar al-Assad oppressing his own people.
Britain is prepared to contribute officers to an enlarged international monitoring mission in Syria, Mr Cameron told a Group of Eight summit in the US.
There are more than 200 United Nations monitors inside Syria, where more than 9,000 people have died since last year as the regime tries to suppress opposition to Mr Assad’s rule.
The monitors are in the country as part of a deal negotiated with Mr Assad by Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary-general. The Annan deal is supposed to lead to a ceasefire and talks between the regime and its opponents.
However, Mr Assad’s allies “continue to show wanton disregard” for the Annan process, Mr Cameron told the Camp David summit last night, saying the regime must be put under much greater pressure.