We have the first resignation from the Government… Well, sort of, since Parliamentary Private Secretaries come pretty low down the food chain. But it is the first resignation — the first of many, we hope — and that’s something to be happy about.
Click here after noon tomorrow for Comrade Reed’s official resignation statement.
Alexandra Kollontai, born in St Petersburg, 31 March 1872, died in Moscow, 9 March 1952. Old Bolshevik.
N.B. Some are asking, incidentally, why the DSW didn’t mark Stalin’s fiftieth the other day, since he’s a rather important Dead Socialist. (As one correspondent asked: “Was his exclusion from the Dead Socialist Hall of Infamy an editorial guillotine, or have I been misinformed and in fact he saw a few more days of March than I appreciated?”) Well, I forgot. He was on my list, but sometimes I don’t get round to posting anything. Given the degree of coverage in the mainstream press, you probably didn’t need the DSW to be reminded of the anniversary. Those who asked, in fact, demonstrated they didn’t need it by the fact of their asking.
I thought that my excellent friend and comrade Martin O’Neill was having a good day, as he beavers away on the metaphysics of egalitarian justice, or whatever it is that he does these days.
Ireland beat France 15-12 in a closely-fought Six Nations international.
Celtic beat Rangers 1-0 in the Scottish Premier League.
Arsenal were 2-1 up against Chelsea in the FA Cup, with a splendid goal from Thierry Henry just before half time.
[If he cares about any other sports teams, I’m not sure I know about it. Actually, I don’t know that he cares about the rugby, but he tends to like Ireland doing well at things, so I’m making an intelligent guess].And on top of all this, he tells me, it’s his birthday.
But then Chelsea equalised a few minutes from the end and forced a replay.
It’s fifty years since Tom Lehrer made his first recordings.
“I’m not tempted to write a song about George W. Bush. I couldn’t figure out what sort of song I would write. That’s the problem: I don’t want to satirise George Bush and his puppeteers, I want to vaporise them.” …
From an excellent article in a recent edition of the Sydney Morning Herald.
More dead socialists tomorrow. Today’s anniversary by contrast focuses on an almost-dead anti-socialist, since it’s the 20th of Ronald Reagan’s celebrated “evil empire” speech.
Avoid the tyranny of the soundbite and read the whole thing here.
The entire (post-cull) Magdalen herd, just below my window, ten minutes ago.
White House press secretary Ari Fleischer was in fine form last week:
Q: Ari, just to follow up on Mexico. Is it true that the administration is willing to give Mexico some sort of immigration agreements like amnesty or guest worker program, to assure the Mexican vote, as the French press is pointing out today and is quoting, actually, two different diplomats from the State Department?
MR. FLEISCHER: No, it’s exactly as I indicated, that we have, on this issue, a matter of diplomacy and a matter of the merits. We ask each nation on the Security Council to weigh the merits and make a decision about war and peace. And if anybody thinks that there are nations like Mexico, whose vote could be bought on the basis of a trade issue or something else like that, I think you’re giving — doing grave injustice to the independence and the judgment of the leaders of other nations.
Q — the French press is quoting actually two different diplomats from the United States State Department that — they’re highlighting that the United States is giving some sort of agreements or benefits to Colombia — and other non-members of the Security Council —
MR. FLEISCHER: I haven’t seen the story. And you already have the answer, about what this will be decided on. But think about the implications of what you’re saying. You’re saying that the leaders of other nations are buyable. And that is not an acceptable proposition. (Laughter.)
Today’s Observer, by contrast, carries not only a useful summary of the carrots and sticks being waved around as various world leaders “weigh the merits”, but also an exposÃ© of the American phone-tapping of UN delegations on the other.
I’ve finally got off my arse and installed an automated comments facility. Now to find out whether it works.
On Monday 3 March there will be (at least) eight hundred and ninety-two public readings of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata all around the world.
Friends and colleagues will be taking part in the Oxford instantiation of this phenomenon, which will take place at Balliol College at 7.30pm, using the Tony Harrison text. Do come.
While I’m on the subject, Virtual Stoa readers in Oxford might like to remember to sign the antiwar petition, which will close on Wednesday. Students go here; staff here.
UPDATE [8.3.2003]: The Oxford Lysistrata was excellent, and Katha Pollitt’s coverage of events in New York in The Nation is here.