Attention: All Users of the Chris Lightfoot Memorial Naziometer

The Chris Lightfoot Memorial Naziometer recently flickered back into life, recording “one” fairly recently, and this evening moving up to “four”. I don’t read Melanie Phillips’ blog on a regular basis these days, but I headed over just now to see what was going on. And I learned something interesting, which is that the CLMN may be undercounting Melanie P’s uses of the word ‘Nazi’ (and similar).

The Naziometer only counts mentions of the Nazis on the front page of her blog – but now that she’s blogging at the Spectator site, not all of her longer posts appear on that front page; you get the first paragraph, and have to ‘click to continue’ to read the rest on a separate page. So, in her most recent post alone, “Liberal Fascism“, the word Nazi (or similar) appears twelve times, but only four of these have been picked up by the Naziometer. So we shall need to be careful in future when interpreting the invaluable data generated by the CLMN.

Blue Blood: Screening & Symposium

From the Ruskin School website:

The film director Stevan Riley will be coming to Oxford at 4.30pm on Friday 27 February to screen his brilliant documentary Blue Blood in the auditorium at Magdalen College.

Blue Blood follows a group of Oxford students in the run-up to the Varsity boxing match and stars ex-Ruskin School undergraduate Charles Ogilvie.

Stevan will introduce the film and he, Charlie and others will contribute to a round-table discussion immediately afterwards.

Variety described it as one of the better sports movies in recent memory, but Blue Blood is also a wonderful story about obsession and the search for personal identity.

Admission free.

Bonnie Honig on Slumdog Millionaire

It turns out that Slumdog Millionaire is a much more interesting film than I took it to be. Faced with cardboard-cutout characters and an implausible plot, I rather switched off and stopped enjoying myself. My former-teacher-and-current-colleague Bonnie Honig, on the other hand, started thinking instead about what it all had to say about democratic theory — and her splendid essay on Slumdog has just been published on the website of the Indian Express newspaper (albeit under a not-entirely-ideal title). So go over there and read it.


I posted this seven years ago, when Jennifer Jane Brown died at birth. Here it is again, this time for David and Samantha Cameron, and in memory of Ivan, poor chap.

Nun will die Sonn’ so hell aufgehn,
Als sei kein Unglück die Nacht geschehn!
Das Unglück geschah nur mir allein!
Die Sonne, sie scheinet allgemein!

Du mußt nicht die Nacht in dir verschränken,
Mußt sie ins ew’ge Licht versenken!
Ein Lämplein verlosch in meinem Zelt!
Heil sei dem Freudenlicht der Welt!

Now the sun will as brightly shine
As if the night had brought no misfortune.
The misfortune fell alone on me;
The sun shines on everybody.

You must not clasp the night within you,
It must sink away into everlasting light.
A little lamp has gone out in my house!
Hail to the joyful light of the world!

The poem is by Friedrich Rückert (1788-1866); it is also the text of the first song in the Kindertotenlieder (Songs on the death of children) song cycle by Gustav Mahler (1860-1911), composed in the early years of the last century.

Was Today British Values Day?

Regular Stoa readers will remember that in the unspeakable Liam Byrne’s comic pamphlet A More United Kingdom, someone made the rather good suggestion that we might introduce the much-anticipated British Values Day “by making more of an existing day e.g. Pancake Day”. Well, today (Tuesday) was Pancake day, and therefore potentially also British Values Day.

Among other things, today I ate some Stilton cheese (and a pancake!), and watched parts of a football match on telly (though I suppose I should keep quiet about the fact that I wanted the notionally British team to lose).

Britons! What did you do today (or, depending on when you read this, yesterday) that was distinctively British?

Dead Beardie Cricket Scorer Watch

From the TMS blog, on the late Bill Frindall:

All our thoughts are obviously with his widow Debbie and his family. But Aggers [= BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew] said to me: “You know Bill would always delight in telling us he was born on the first day of the famous “timeless Test” – the longest ever match between England and South Africa in Durban in 1939 which lasted 10 days.

“Well,” continued Aggers “it just had to be the case that Bill’s funeral was held on the day of the shortest ever Test.”

I think Bill would rather have liked that.

I like that, too.

“We know what cats do in our homes – they sleep”

I’ve often wanted to attach some kind of GPS device to Enkidu, in order to work out where – and how far – he goes at night. It’s good to learn that Reading University scientists want to do something similar, and that even they have “virtually no idea of what they [the cats, not the scientists] get up to outdoors, particularly at night.”

The article also suggests that Enkidu may be wiping out far more wildlife than he brings in to show us, given that the rabbits, weasels (apparently) and water-buffalo that he brings down won’t fit through the catflap, and so they are eaten where they fall. (I may have garbled that last bit.)

Thinking of wildlife, I liked the final image in this gallery. Much better than that stupid white horse (and the duck isn’t bad, either).

UPDATE [Wednesday am]: Socialist Unity weighs in.