Saturday, 25 June 2016

The disaster

Yesterday, we discovered what happens when you ask the British what they really think about foreigners.  The result was a disaster.  A disaster and a tragedy.  It was the worst political event of my lifetime, and I lived through the Thatcher years.  

Saturday, 27 February 2016

The Smith report

Dame Janet Smith's report into the BBC's role in the Jimmy Savile scandal has now been published.  It is an interesting document in a number of ways.

Perhaps the least interesting thing about the report is the behaviour of the dead paedophile who triggered it.  We already knew enough about Savile and what kind of man he was, and I will say no more about him.

The lasting significance of the report lies in its value as a piece of social history and investigative work.  Smith has managed to piece together, painstakingly and in detail, events from decades ago which took place in a now lost culture.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

The Eichmann Trial, Deborah Lipstadt

The State of Israel v Adolf Eichmann was one of the outstanding criminal trials of the twentieth century - the piece of litigation that introduced the term "Holocaust" into the English vernacular.  This book is an account of the trial written by Deborah Lipstadt, a Jewish American academic who is best known for her own courtroom battle against an antisemite, in the form of David Irving's ill-fated libel action against her and Penguin Books.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Copa: Virgil's Hostess

First published on my classics blog, Memento, on 2 October 2014

The Copa is a short poem, presented as the song of a hostess at a country inn.  It is one of a number of short works attributed to the great Roman poet Virgil.  It has been much admired by critics, but it is unlikely to have been written by the great man himself.

Saturday, 7 November 2015


First published on my classics blog, Memento, on 9 November 2014

Limb-loosing Love makes me tremble again,
the bittersweet creature that cannot be fought....  (Fragment 130)

Friday, 16 October 2015

Homer and Oral Epic

First posted on my classics blog, Memento, on 6 May 2015.

Most people today who encounter the Iliad and the Odyssey encounter them as books:

The Indo-Europeans and PIE

First published on my classics blog, Memento, on 9 November 2014.

You don't have to have spent long learning Latin and Greek before you realise that the languages are related somehow.  It doesn't take a genius to work out that fero, fers, fert is related to phero, phereis, pherei ("bear, carry").