A Week in Politics

Hello and welcome to A Week in Politics, or should I say six months in politics. That's right - summer's drawing near, parliament is about to shut up shop for the next few months, and A Week in Politics is packing its bucket and spade and factor 10 sun block and heading for the beach. So this week and next week I'll be bringing you a kind of Week in Politics Greatest Hits - a round up of the last six months, the stories that I've most enjoyed writing about and the people I've most enjoyed talking to.

That was of course the Czech president, Vaclav Havel, in his inaugural speech to the nation in January 1990. Those were the days when he still enjoyed enormous popularity both at home and abroad, worshipped as the spiritual father of the bloodless Velvet Revolution. Today his international reputation remains intact, but at home he's taken a bit of a battering. Frequently sick, publicly clashing with the country's senior officials, and sometimes seen as being out of step with the Czech people, many believe he should step down now. Early in May I met up with commentator Vaclav Pinkava, and I began by asking him why Havel's popularity had apparently fallen so low.

A few weeks later, Prague's most famous literary son, Franz Kafka, finally had a square renamed in his honour. Many believed the long failure to honour Kafka with a street name had political, even nationalist overtones - critics accused the Czechs of snubbing Kafka because he wasn't 'one of theirs' - like all of Prague's German Jewish literati, Kafka wrote in German, not Czech. So I decided to visit Franz Kafka square with the journalist Tomas Pecina, in a bid to decipher the politics of street names.

And rounding off this first instalment of A Week in Politics Greatest Hits - something of a DIY tip, from the East Bohemian town of Pardubice...

That's all for part one. Join me again next week for the second and final part of this round up edition of A Week in Politics, until then, from me, [email protected], take care.