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.