As often happens if I can't sleep I switch on the BBC World Service. Sometimes it acts as a soporific. Not so last night. The entire programme is devoted to Nelson Mandela, and rightly so. It is easy to be carried away by the passing of a great man. But few have and will achieve what he did. When I visited South Africa at the time of Apartheid even the most enlightened were convinced that a bloodbath would evnetually ensue. That it didn't was certainly because of his intelligence, his personality, his understanding of human nature and the amazing vision of an oppressed majority living side by side with those who had brutally oppressed it. His refusal to negotiate with the Government of the time without the restrictions which they sought to impose on him, remind us of the firmness and determination which lay beneath his message of reconcilliation.
Eventually I send myself to sleep with a fantasy about a country where enemies forgive one another, politicians sit down with their opponents to discuss optimum solutions, bankers give up usary and the only competiton that exists in society is to be kinder to your neighbout than your neighbour is to you. Jealousy, hatred and greed no longer exist. Sad to say I fall asleep before this extraordinary malaise has taken root. And do you blame me?