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    In the red

    Man, no one’s given me a BJ like this for years:

    We had been told that [Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez] would take a couple of questions from us during the show. Quite a rare opportunity.

    We probed him on a deal he struck with London’s mayor.

    [London mayoral candidate Boris Johnson] has questioned why a country with such poverty is giving to one of the world’s richest capitals.

    “This man is stupid,” Mr Chavez told us. “There are poor people in London. I have seen them.”

    He answered a question on his links with Iran by calling President Ahmadinejad “an extraordinary man”.

    He said he could deal with whom he liked and that he did not go round telling the UK prime minister that he could not be friends with the “genocidal George Bush”.

    It was classic Chavez – he has never been one to mince his words.

    There are a few rote sentences observing how staged and lacking in dissent the event being covered was, of course; that’s how you maintain “objectivity.” But just how “probing” could those questions have been if they could be answered with sassy little quips? A close buddy of mine, an Englishman whose politics are pretty close to mine, likes to raise my blood pressure by sending me links to these things. His comment on this one was “Oh, please….”

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