She Can Run But She Can’t Hide (From the Chris Lightfoot Memorial Melanie Phillips Naziometer)

Melanie Phillips recently sought to outwit the Naziometer, first by moving her blogpage over here, and, second, by not mentioning Nazis for a week or two, and thereby keeping us in suspense as to whether our technology was able to cope with the transition. But it is, and it’s now recording a healthy “four” thanks to this post.


The Chris Lightfoot Memorial Naziometer (see sidebar) was recording pretty low values over the Summer. It was zero for quite a while, and although things have been improving recently, I’ve only been noticing scores hovering around the three / four mark. So I’m thrilled to report that it’s hit sixteen!, which may very well be an all-time high, thanks entirely to this fine post.

But It Stopped Short, Never To Go Again, When The Old Man Died?

Chris Lightfoot did many valuable things in his life, but one that was particularly treasured here at the Virtual Stoa was the Melanie Phillips Naziometer. It was a bit of code that reported on the number of times the word “Nazi”, “Nazis” or “Nazism” appeared on the front page of Melanie Phillips’ blog, so we wouldn’t have to do a manual count ourselves every day. (It rarely recorded a score of zero, though it did from time to time.)

When Chris died, the Naziometer stopped working, as it was on the server that he had running at home. Unlike my grandfather’s clock, however, I’m glad to report that the Naziometer has started going again, having been revived by Chris’s friends over at Mythic Beasts. It lives over here, and it’s also now been reinstalled on this page on the blog’s sidebar as a permanent tribute, now redesignated the Chris Lightfoot Memorial Naziometer (a label which will help to distinguish it from all the other Naziometers that there might be out there).

It’s currently reporting a somewhat low score of Three, though we might note that a manual check reveals three uses of “genocide” — one of which is particularly tasteful — and two of the verb “islamise” — but only one reference to Britain “ever more eagerly stretching out its neck for the cultural knife”, which I particularly like.


You could tell that Melanie Phillips needed a holiday: the Naziometer, which records the number of times the word appears on the front page of her blog had fallen to zero a couple of weeks ago. Batteries recharged, she’s returned to the fray, and the N-o-M is registering a reasonably healthy seven. (See the big number that appears on the sidebar for the most up-to-date readings.) I don’t think we should worry too much that all seven appearances are in quoted text from somebody else: it’s a good thing to take it easy for a bit when you get back from a trip, and I’m sure we’re heading for regular double-digit readings quite soon.

(There’s also four “Hitlers”, one “fascist”, one “fascism”, and, I’m very pleased to see, one “morally degenerate”.)

Political Correctness Gone Mad

Anthony Browne has just published a pamphlet, “The Retreat of Reason” with the think tank Civitas, which can be downloaded here. It’s already prompted quite a bit of blog-discussion, partly, I think, because Browne (Anthony) and Brown (Yasmin Alibhai-) were tearing strips off one another at 8.20 or so yesterday morning on the Today programme (you can still, I think, listen to them here), and people like to blog about what they hear on the Today programme.

The pamphlet is dreadful, of course. (But then I would say that, wouldn’t I, as a leading PC guardian of strict orthodoxy and general thought-policeman? So the Browne-boosters needn’t worry about me. Anyway, I thought that Civitas was supposed to be the non-barking centre-right alternative to the loons at the Adam Smith Institute and so on: was I wrong?)

Melanie Phillips, on the other hand, thinks it’s marvellous. She writes: “Browne is one of the few who very clearly understands that ‘political correctness’ is not some ludicrous absurdity that can be laughed away, as it is so often depicted. It is instead a terrifying, totalitarian and in Britain wholly successful putsch against truth itself, the weapon of subversion of a moral, political and social order.” So opinions differ.

Browne’s pamphlet ends with a rather engaging ten-point “Guide to Purging the Political Correctness Within” for all citizens to follow, and I thought it would be fun to see how Browne’s text performs in light of his concluding recommendations. Read onward, or upwards, as the case may be.

The Mind Boggles

Someone has just visited the VS after searching for “melanie phillips stoicism”…

… In other Stoic-related news, I’ve just started reading philosophy professor and occasional blog commenter Tad Brennan’s new book The Stoic Life, and I think it’s going to be really very good indeed.

(I’ll hold off deciding whether it’s splendid until I’ve made it through to the end.)

P.S. Google gives 425 records for “melanie phillips stoicism”, but an impressive 29,700 for “melanie phillips barking”. But then the proof of how misleading these things can be comes with the further stat that “melanie phillips sensible” garners a whopping 55,700.