Olof Palme, Swedish social democrat and prime minister; born 30 January 1927, shot dead 28 February 1986.
Archive for February, 2005
Friedrich Ebert, German social democrat and first President of the Weimar Republic. Born 4 February 1871, died 25 February 1925.
Over here, as the Observer launches its blog.
Have any established British journalists successfully made the transition from journalism to blogging yet? There’s the comedy squad of Mel P and Pollard, but I’m not sure whether anyone sensible has yet started to run a regular blog, and/or made a good job of it.
Apart from Johann Hari and his sort-of blog. He’s borderline sensible, I suppose, and occasionally quite good.
(Am I missing anyone? There’s Paul Anderson, but he doesn’t post often and when he does it’s usually just copies of his articles for Tribune. Andrew Sullivan, obviously, but he’s far more rooted in a US context, and not just because he lives there.)
Paul Sweezy, Marxist economist, born 10 April 1910, died 27 February 2004.
Rest in Peace, Peter Benenson, founder of Amnesty International, born 21 July 1921, died 25 February 2005.
I’ve just spent a part of the morning at home reading the first hundred pages or so of Caroline Elkins’ new book, Britain’s Gulag, which describes, among other things, the “screening” of Mau Mau suspects in Kenya during the Emergency in the 1950s, which involved, among other things, the stubbing out of cigarettes on Kenyans’ bodies, savage beatings, hot eggs being inserted in rectums and vaginas, and suspects being forced to eat their own testicles after mutilation with pliers.
Earlier this week we could read in the newspapers about the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at the hands of British troops, not of the same level of savagery, to be sure, but intolerable nevertheless.
And now I turn up at my office and read on the BBC website that the Heir to the Throne — in whose mother’s name these degradations were carried out in both Kenya and Iraq — has been whining again:
Prince Charles claimed the British people “tortured” him over his relationship with Mrs Parker Bowles in a 1998 interview, it has been revealed.”I thought the British people were supposed to be compassionate. I don’t see much of it,” he is said to have told BBC journalist Gavin Hewitt.
Yup. No compassion at all. Certainly none from me.
Bill Hicks, comedian, 16 December 1961 – 26 February 1994.
Tommy Douglas, leader of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation and the New Democratic Party, and the founding father of Medicare; born 20 October, 1904, died 24 February 1986.
(Thinking of Canadians, why not pop over to Harry Hutton’s and cast your vote for Mark Steyn in his Canadian Asshole Awards for 2005? You can vote for Mark Steyn once a day until the results of the poll are declared.)
Continuing the brief Balliol theme, one of today’s Dead Socialists is Christopher Hill, author of The World Turned Upside Down and other fine books; born 6 February 6 1912; died 24 February 2003. (Some sources say 23 February. Hmm.)
Later this evening I’ll be joining Marc Mulholland for a birthday drink at the King’s Arms pub, where they have framed on the wall a poster from a much earlier, mid-1990s attempt by Balliol’s Lime Society to auction off Trinity College and its contents to the highest bidder in an Everything Must Go Closing Down Sale. Which just goes to show that there’s nothing new under the sun, etc.
Over here. Three weeks old, I agree, but it hasn’t had much play in what the loony bloggers are persuading me to call the MSM.
Class Worrier Raj is back from Northern Zululand and is posting again on the travails of the South African universities. Go and read what he has to say.
And, as people who know me will know, I’m generally secular and occasionally quite anti-clerical. But there are four different religious impulses that I experience from time to time — let’s call them the Quaker, the Shaker, the Anglican and the Jansenist — and all six of us think that Stephen Green of Christian Voice is a complete shit. That’s rare unanimity of opinion. [For details, see here and here.]
One of the good things about the Livingstone-Finegold flap is that we’re being regularly reminded of the poisonous politics of the Daily Mail in the not-too-distant past. Here‘s a useful page from the excellent Spartacus educational website, with a selection of Lord Rothermere’s opinions about Nazi Germany and the British Union of Fascists.
For IDS, apparently, “has understood that the web has the power finally to topple not just individual journalists caught with their hands in the ethical till, but the whole wretched hegemony of insidious and civilisation-threatening views that has driven Britsh society off the rails…”
UPDATE [3pm]: Tim Lambert has been thinking about Mel P’s thinking on science and global warming:
Next, we have Melanie Philips, who is sure that global warming is a scam because (quoting McIntyre and McKitrick):
[Mann et alï¿½s method], when tested on persistent red noise, nearly always produces a hockey stick shaped first principal component (PC1) and overstates the first eigenvalue.
According to her biography Philips is a journalist with a degree in English. Back when I was an undergraduate learning about stuff like eigenvalues and mathematical physics, my friends studying English didnï¿½t learn about eigenvalues. Maybe it was different for Philips, or maybe sheï¿½s done some postgrad course in advanced statistical analysis, so I emailed her, asking her if she knew what red noise, principal components, or eigenvalues were. No reply. My guess is that she doesnï¿½t know what any of them are. (Oh, and M&Mï¿½s ï¿½always produces a hockey stickï¿½ argument is a red herring.)
More over here, at the ever-excellent Deltoid blog.