Archive for December, 2007
Karl Renner, Austrian socialist politician; born 14 December 1870, died 31 December 1950.
Jim Figgins, railway signalmen and trade unionist, who travelled slowly from the communist-influenced left (the Railwaymenâ€™s Minority Movement and the Railway Vigilance Movement) to leadership positions (executive, 1931-4, an organiser from 1938, assistant to the general secretary in 1943, elected general secretary in 1948, retiring in 1953). Richard Crossman thought he reminded him of â€œa retired Anglo-Indian country gentleman farmerâ€ [David Howell, in the ODNB]. Born Largs, Ayrshire, 8 March 1893, died at Cuddington, Surrey, 27 December 1956.
Ada Nield Chew, trade unionist, ILPer and suffragist, who became paid organiser for the National Union of Womenâ€™s Suffrage Societies in 1912. After the war, she ran a successful mail-order wholesale drapery line. Born Audley, Staffordshire, 28 January 1870, died Burnley, Lancashire, 27 December 1945.
Michael White, in tehgraun:
[Gordon] Brown is a Shakespearian tragedy in the making, says one MP: Othello’s jealousy, Hamlet’s indecision, the futile rage of Lear and Brutus’s weakness for bad advice. “But at least we’ve got rid of the Macbeths.”
Louis Aragon, poet, novelist, surrealist, socialist; born 3 October 1897, died 24 December 1982.
So, Mr Blair’s become a Catholic, and there are a billion pop explanations in play — that Blair’s keen to wallow in guilt for his disastrous foreign policy, and nobody does guilt better than Catholics (cf going straight into the Middle East job after doing so much, and in such a well-intentioned way, to bollocks up the region) — that it’s the long-term result of being married to Cherie Booth, once you’ve jumped through all the Carole Caplin papaya-flavoured hoops that have been set up along the way — that you can’t quite keep that much moralism bottled up inside you without letting it spill out all over something, and now he doesn’t have the British people anymore he might as well absorb himself into the Holy Roman and Apostolic Catholic Church. (I’m sure we can always come up with more: if you do, pop ‘em in the comments).
But it seems to me there’s a more interesting, longer-term trajectory at work in what we can usefully for the purposes of this post call Blair’s mind, and I’ll say a bit about that over the fold.