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May 13, 2003
[politics] Gasps as the Wrecking Machine Careers out of Control — Simon Hoggart on Clare Short’s Resignation Speech. ‘…it was for [Blair] she saved the unkindest swing of the ball, the one meant to bring the chandelier crashing down on to the ballroom floor. “To the prime minister I would say that he has achieved great things since 1997, but paradoxically, he is in danger of destroying his legacy as he becomes increasingly obsessed by his place in history.” The man sounds like Blofeld. It was not hard to imagine the roof of Downing Street opening, klaxons sounding, as the nuclear-tipped missile rises up, trained on Birmingham Ladywood.’
April 3, 2003
[politics] Unfazed Passenger on a Dizzying Ride — Simon Hoggart on Tony Blair … ‘Tony Blair arrived for prime minister’s questions looking quite unflustered. This is something of a feat for a man who must feel he’s in the back of a truck which is hurtling up a mountain side at 70mph, through a dozen hairpin bends, a dizzying drop first on the right, then to the left – and who is at the wheel? Donald Rumsfeld! Aaargh!’
March 14, 2003
[war] Pentagon hawk at war with his own side — interesting profile of Donald Rumsfeld‘A couple of weeks ago he was addressing a gathering of international officials at the Pentagon. “There are four countries that will never support us. Never,” barked Mr Rumsfeld, before instantly creating his own new axis of evil: “Cuba, Libya and Germany.” “What’s the fourth?” someone asked. “I forget the fourth,” he said, which was probably fortunate. Who knows who else he might have offended?’
March 12, 2003
[war] The Pentagon’s New Map — globalisation and the US Military’s view of the world … ‘That is why the public debate about this war has been so important: It forces Americans to come to terms with I believe is the new security paradigm that shapes this age, namely, Disconnectedness defines danger. Saddam Hussein’s outlaw regime is dangerously disconnected from the globalizing world, from its rule sets, its norms, and all the ties that bind countries together in mutually assured dependence. The problem with most discussion of globalization is that too many experts treat it as a binary outcome: Either it is great and sweeping the planet, or it is horrid and failing humanity everywhere. Neither view really works, because globalization as a historical process is simply too big and too complex for such summary judgments.’
February 27, 2003
[search requests] Bush and Blair Sing Endless Love.
February 24, 2003
[mood] Meanwhile, at Davos … [Related: Mefi Thread | via ext|circ]

‘The world isn’t run by a clever cabal. It’s run by about 5,000 bickering, sometimes charming, usually arrogant, mostly male people who are accustomed to living in either phenomenal wealth, or great personal power. A few have both. Many of them turn out to be remarkably naive — especially about science and technology. All of them are financially wise, though their ranks have thinned due to unwise tech-stock investing. They pay close heed to politics, though most would be happy if the global political system behaved far more rationally — better for the bottom line.’

February 11, 2003
[politics] If it was a nasty party that won all those elections… — profile of Norman Tebbit‘He admits that he plays “spot the Brit” on escalators on the London Underground. But it would be very wrong to see the man who once proposed a “cricket test” for immigrants as today’s Enoch Powell figure. His distaste for “multiculturalism” should not be mistaken as a cover for racism. He recently was the star guest at a dinner to raise funds for medical services in Bangladesh, and repeatedly praises many aspects of Muslim life. “If we had more people in our inner cities who benefited from extended families and from sharing places of worship, we would probably have a better society,” he says.’
January 31, 2003
[politics] The lady’s not for turning – but will her party turn to her? — what’s Ann Widdecombe up to? ‘…she must be more of a threat to Mr Letwin than anyone on the Labour side of the House. She praises him with deadly condescension as “a brilliant brain”, and predicts that, at the next election, the Tories will advocate the detention of all asylum-seekers. “On asylum, crime and tax, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if in 2005 the manifesto that we fight on is the same under another name as the one in 2001.” Ambition still lurks. Twice in the interview, she accidentally referred to herself as Home Secretary.’
January 27, 2003
[politics] Hoggart’s Parliament Sketches — an archive of recent articles by Simon Hoggart about the British Parliament. On Tony Blair: ‘…he walked away with the cheers of his own party echoing round the chamber. It must be an extraordinary sensation – even in these days when the Commons counts for so much less – to arrive facing 30 minutes of abuse and complaint, and to leave hearing huzzas, bellows of applause, and the demented waving of order papers. It was like those TV dramas in which Winston Churchill thrills the House in 1940: the noises are a little too loud, over enthusiastic, too actory. It sounded like that. My guess is that Alastair Campbell has had a silicone chip installed in Mr Blair’s Y-fronts.’
January 24, 2003
[politics] British-U.S. Union — web site for the The Expansionist Party who advocate UK union with America … ‘Britain is in the wrong Union. Rather than the European Union, a group hostile to Britain and the English language, Britain belongs in the American Union, on the road to worldwide English-Speaking Union.’ [via politX]
January 11, 2003
[uk] A Cynic’s Guide To Entitlement (*cough* ID *cough*) Cards — an internet campaign against proposed compulsory ID cards in the UK …

‘ID Cards are one of those ideas that the public never votes on, but governments always propose. When you’re a minister, having an easy-to-get-at list of everyone in the country sounds a terrific idea. But when you find out quite how many people don’t share that opinion, you’re tempted to think again. Especially when those people are voters. Oh, sure, that’s us speaking cynically. But cynically speaking, we think, is better than not speaking at all.’ [MORE]

January 3, 2003
[religion] Why Mother Teresa Should not be a Saint — Christopher Hitchens on the canonization of Mother Teresa‘I discovered that she had taken money from rich dictators like the Duvalier gang in Haiti, had been a friend of poverty rather than a friend of the poor, had never given any account of the huge sums of money donated to her, had railed against birth-control in the most overpopulated city on the planet and had been the spokeswoman for the most extreme dogmas of religious fundamentalism. Actually, it’s boasting to say that I “discovered” any of this. It was all there in plain sight for anyone to notice. But in the age of celebrity, nobody had troubled to ask if such a global reputation was truly earned or was simply the result of brilliant public relations.’
January 2, 2003
[world] Our Quality of Life Peaked in 1974. It’s All Downhill Now — George Monbiot on the illusion of never-ending growth and progress … ‘Our economic system depends upon never-ending growth, yet we live in a world with finite resources. Our expectation of progress is, as a result, a delusion. This is the great heresy of our times, the fundamental truth which cannot be spoken. It is dismissed as furiously by those who possess power today – governments, business, the media – as the discovery that the earth orbits the sun was denounced by the late medieval church. Speak this truth in public and you are dismissed as a crank, a prig, a lunatic.’
October 24, 2002
[politics] The Friendly Dictators — political Trading Cards richly illustrated by Bill Sienkiewicz and originally published by Eclipse in 1990 … [via jwz’s LiveJournal]

Friendly Dictator --  Augusto Pinochet


‘…”Captain General” Augusto Pinochet seized power from democratically elected President Salvador Allende in 1973, and buried Chile’s 150 year old democracy. “Democracy is the breeding ground of communism,” says Pinochet.’
October 15, 2002
[politics] R. Robot is Making Sense — automatically attack the liberal of your choice …

‘LinkMachineGo, what kind of a man are you? “Don’t hurt me,” says LinkMachineGo. Well, duh. LinkMachineGo, what kind of a man are you? It must be obvious to anyone who can think that the charges against the dirty bomber are true. When will LinkMachineGo come clean about the way he criticizes Ann Coulter? Instead of constructing arguments based on logic, the hot-tubbers assume that whatever they want to be true must be. “‘Department of Homeland Security?’ What the fuck is this, Brazil?” says LinkMachineGo. LinkMachineGo’s disgrace was obsessive and even dangerous. It was ad-hominem. It was ideological. But I understate.’

October 12, 2002
[politics] The Man of Faith who has made a Mockery of his Doubters — profile of Jimmy Carter … ‘As petrol and fuel prices soared, Carter promoted energy conservation to Americans as the “Moral Equivalent of War” — instantly reduced by his foes to the damning, and undeniably apposite, “Meow”. Capping everything was the immortal “killer rabbit” affair, too complicated alas to relate in detail here. It stemmed from a 1979 fishing trip to his native Plains, Georgia, during which Carter encountered a furry rabbit-like beast in a lake. The President himself started the story; and as others embellished it, the tale quickly entered the realm of the absurd. Carter, it was said, tried to defend himself against this dastardly amphibious assault with a paddle — then for fear of offending the animal rights brigade, he issued a clarification, that he had merely splashed water at the aggressor.’ [More on Carter’s Killer Rabbit: Staight Dope and News of the Odd]
October 8, 2002
[politics] We’re Shit And We Know We Are — cartoon from Steve Bell.
October 4, 2002
[politics, kinda] ‘My children have been a little surprised this week about how good I am at keeping secrets’ — interview with Edwina Currie … ‘What did she think when she heard Major first talk about [Back to Basics]? “I think you could have heard the clunk of my jaw drop two miles away. I sat there listening, and I thought, ‘He’s mad. He’s absolutely mad!’ Number one, no government should moralise. Number two, it ain’t a policy.” The fingers go up again. “But thirdly, I looked at that man, and thought, ‘You have no right whatsoever to make comments of that kind.'” Perhaps he had forgotten his own past, I suggest. She nods. “I think he had airbrushed it from history.” She says it was obvious that he would end up alienating huge chunks of the electorate, not least single mums.’
October 2, 2002
[blogs] Bloggers of the Left, Unite! — New Stateman article on the supposed right-wing hijacking of weblogging … ‘…this is the blogger’s way: like raptors, they hunt in packs, gain momentum, pick enemies, vent spleen, and never, ever, hold back. These blogs do not have large direct readerships: InstaPundit clocks only 40,000 readers a day. But many readers run their own blogs; others are political or media professionals. So a growing community is aware of whatever most irritated Sullivan today. This in turn creates what the legal theorist Cass Sunstein calls “cybercascades”, reaching millions of readers with ideas, in this case associated almost exclusively with the right. They are democratic dynamite: private networks of information, unchecked by sensible debate.’ [via Haddock]
[politics] A couple more links about the Currie / Major Affair


October 1, 2002
[politics] ‘If only we had known back then’ — Steve Bell on Edwina Currie and John Major‘It’s not often that I actually gurgle with delight, but I must confess that is exactly what happened when I awoke to the news of Edwina Currie’s affair with John Major. Having spent so many years drawing Major as a hapless gawk with his Aertex Y-fronts always worn outside his dull, charcoal-grey suit I was faced with the fact that he was also a sex-romping superstud who could keep it up for at least three hours (according to the News of the World).’
September 29, 2002
[sundays] A couple of interesting articles from the Observer

  • The Secret Passion that Staggered Westminster‘Back to Basics has come back yet again to haunt him, a phrase that must now go down as the most unfortunate, misinterpreted and now clearly misjudged three-word soundbite ever. It was launched at the Conservative conference of 1993. Currie was in the hall. ‘I listened in absolute amazement,’ she said. ‘And if you’re asking me whether I thought that policy was a mistake, absolutely. Not least because it was very cruel to people who were otherwise excellent Ministers, who didn’t deserve to have the magnifying glass turned on their lives at that time by their own leader. If it had been my choice, we would have had a very different policy. It was going against the tone of the times and it was also handled in an extremely cruel fashion. ‘It was cruel to single parents, it was cruel to women left on their own with children, it was pompous and facetious and stupid.’ And, a fact the public only know now, the height of hypocrisy.’
  • Don’t Laugh. This is the Real Office — A visit to a real office in Slough … ‘ I have come to the people at Swan to find out what they think of the programme and whether any of them resemble the grotesques on screen. And, of course, they don’t, Gervais’s comedy being a fierce distillation of every lousy trait – jealousy, ambition, self-deception, witty ties – found in every office in every town in Britain today. Instead, their chat represents fairly perfectly the minutiae of life in what Napoleon should more accurately have called a nation of service-sector retail distribution outlet co-workers: house prices, last night’s TV, the drive to work and the perennial search, in Europe’s biggest trading estate, for a decent lunchtime sandwich.’

September 25, 2002
[rant] Trouble when Tweed Comes to Town — Will Self rants about the Countryside March … ‘Yes, Countryside Alliance, you’re the Tories who can’t stand the free market; you’re the libertarians who can’t handle homosexual rights or decriminalising drugs; you’re the defenders of Fortress Britain who get bankrolled by Brussels. You aren’t old MacDonald – you’re bloody senile.’ [via Guardian Weblog]
September 17, 2002
[politics] Saddam and Me — interview with George Galloway

‘He revealed how Saddam had offered him Quality Street chocolates, told him how much he admired British buses. He also said how shy and retiring the Iraqi dictator was. The account may have been widely ridiculed, but Galloway is probably the only British politician who would be granted such an audience. Why didn’t he accept one of Saddam’s chocolates? “I never eat sweets, my dear. Never.” In his article, Galloway also related how Saddam commented that he had lost weight since their last encounter a few years ago. Galloway smiles when I mention it. “He didn’t have a chocolate either, which is interesting. But everyone else wolfed them down, so I got the impression that the tin doesn’t get brought out all that often.”‘

September 3, 2002
[politics] ‘Oh my god. Not Ann Widdecombe’ — Guardian Colunist spends three days in a hotel with Doris Karloff‘You get all sorts of requests once you’ve written a book. The other week Amnesty International invited me to an event to read the works of an imprisoned writer and I was happy to say yes. I chose Jeffrey Archer.’ [via I Love Everything]
July 25, 2002
[politics] You Ask The Questions — Ann Widdecombe‘Q:Were you pleased with When Louis Met Ann Widdecombe? Why wouldn’t you let Louis into your bedroom? A:I was not unhappy with the final programme. I invited Louis into only those areas of the house where I would invite anyone else. I am entitled to some privacy and I cannot believe the nation is remotely interested in my bedroom or bathroom.’
July 17, 2002
[film] Chronicle of a Death Foretold — Greil Marcus on the Manchurian Candidate, John Frankenheimer and the Kennedy Assasinations … Frankenheimer: ‘I can see Bobby’s face on a big television monitor in the ballroom and I can see his back for real. As I stood there a figure went by me and it was as if there was electricity coming out of his body. I’ve never felt anything like it before or since. Of course it was Sirhan Sirhan.’
July 9, 2002
[politics] A Political Torpedo — a mad profile of Boris Johnson which suggests he could be a future Tory Leader …

‘In many respects he embodies all that is supposed to be politically unacceptable in a modern prime minister. He’s an outrageous toff and an image consultant’s disaster area. What’s more, he has no man-of-the-people credentials at all. Yet, assuming another election defeat, after the disappointment of a decade of William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith, the Tories may well be in the mood for a wild card. The electorate will eventually tire of the joyless puritanism of the Blair-Brown regime. If the Tories want to play the joker, Boris could be their man.’

[euro] They Said What? — Eddie Izzard on the Euro: ‘I’m travelling in Spain where everyone’s using the euro. They haven’t all drowned, everyone’s speaking Spanish, they haven’t become English. they haven’t become Welsh, they haven’t become Afghans.’
July 8, 2002
[euro] A Goosestep too Far? — commentary on Rik Mayall’s pro-Euro Hitler and a brief look at Nazi / Hitler satire …

Rik Mayall as Hitler ... Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Euro.


‘There is a long heritage of Nazi satire, some funny, some trenchant, some negligible, some stupid (we salute you, Freddie Starr, particularly for that hilarious touch of putting the Führer in shorts). When John Cleese put an index finger to his upper lip and did his gangly approximation of a goosestep through the lobby of Torquay’s most benighted hotel, it was funny and important, particularly as it came in a context of lampooning one Briton’s cartoonish views of Germans.’
July 5, 2002
[world] Like Dallas policed by the Taliban — inside Saudi Arabia … ‘[Saudi Arabia] is a country of astonishing contrasts. Riyadh is a hyper-modern city with ancient social customs. It is Dallas, Texas, policed by the Taliban. Women entirely shrouded in black abayas , with even their eyes covered, go shopping at a Harvey Nichols inside a Norman Foster building. Men pour into the mosque under an enormous neon sign advertising Sony, as if they were entering an electrical goods sale rather than a place of worship. McDonald’s is seemingly on every street corner, and yet it closes its doors five times a day for prayers – making Saudi Arabia unique as a country where the most powerful franchise on earth bends its knees in front of an even stronger brand: Allah.’
July 4, 2002
[politics] Hell hath no fury like Iain’s scorn — Simon Hoggart’s view of Prime Ministers Question Time … ‘The last question went to Ann Winterton, whose MP husband Nicholas has been recently knighted. The speaker called her Lady Winterton. What a strange country this is, in which two months ago a frontbencher can be fired for telling a joke which ends: “In our country Pakis are 10 a penny”, and is now honoured by the title Lady.’
June 24, 2002
[history] Inspired by the Finder’s guide to Deep Throat and MegDeep Throat was
  1. …a smoker and he drank Scotch.
  2. …a composite, if he (or she) existed at all.
  3. …the shadowy source who haunts the pages and scenes of “All the President’s Men.”
  4. …presidential adviser Patrick J. Buchanan.
  5. …Pat Gray, FBI director from May 1972 to April 1973.
  6. …Earl J. Silbert, an original Watergate prosecutor.
  7. …some sort of liberal bureaucrat.
  8. …a spook.
  9. …in fact, the lead actress in the film of that title.
  10. …a well-read but occasionally rowdy man.
June 22, 2002
[history] Deep Throat: Not the Usual Suspects — from McSweeney’s‘Richard Nixon: On a dark, rainy evening in the spring of 1973, President Richard Milhous Nixon, tormented by self-loathing, picks up the phone and places a call to the Washington Post. The rest, as they say, is history, my friend.’
June 21, 2002
[history] Richard Nixon’s Last Secret — audio archaeologists go after 18 minutes of conversation deleted (by Nixon?!) from a Watergate Tape …

‘The fact that the tape contained as many as nine separate erasures contradicts any notion that it was caused by an accidental press of the Record button. The culprit was either very anxious to protect the president or was a mechanical klutz. Both descriptions, Watergate scholars have noted, fit Richard Nixon. The 37th president was laughably inept when it came to technology. Haldeman recounts in his now out-of-print book, The Ends of Power, that Nixon struggled with the most basic functions of cassette recorders. The Army Signal Corps supplied Nixon with the simplest recorder available so that the president could dictate memos in the evening. But even then, the various buttons had to be marked so Nixon could use the machine without mixing things up. Put a man like that in front of a reel-to-reel, and it’s easy to see how a simple erasure could turn into a clumsy mess.’

[Related: Nixon Resigns]
May 17, 2002
[politics] Fortunate Son — the Barbelith Webzine looks at the murky past of George W. Bush. ‘[Fortunate Son] contained the allegation that in 1972 Bush senior had arranged for a Texas judge to have his son’s conviction for possession of cocaine expunged from the records, in return for which Junior performed works of public service. This last was already documented; the fact that he worked for a while in the early seventies in an outreach centre for teenagers in one of Dallas’ poorest districts has often been touted by republican publicists eager to round off some of their leader’s corners. Needless to say, it stands out like a sore thumb.’
May 4, 2002
[politics] What I learned about Tony – the Hard Way — William Hague on Tony Blair … ‘All politicians like to identify with their audiences, but his desire to do so is extreme. People who listened to his speech of welcome to the Australians who came to London to celebrate their centenary two years ago could have been forgiven for believing that he had spent most of his life there. When Frank Sinatra died, he bizarrely announced that he had “grown up with him”. In the Labour party magazine it was announced that “Tony’s favourite food is fish and chips. He gets a takeaway from his local chippy whenever he is at home in his constituency.” In The Islington Cookbook his favourite food was “fresh fettuccine garnished with an exotic sauce of olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes and capers”. So, even more than most politicians, he wants to be loved by everyone, and can act himself into the necessary part without the sense of the ridiculous that would overcome most of the rest of us.’
April 26, 2002
[politics] ‘The veil? It protects us from ugly women’ — Guardian interview with Jean-Marie Le Pen. ‘…[Le Pen is] someone who loves a fight, who stirs up strife and contention; a despised and dangerous man who went looking for a violent dust-up and lost his eye as a consequence. His contrasting version of events fits in well with his regular complaints of being politically slandered, of deep-rooted misunderstandings and systematic abuse from the establishment. Even the more jocular aspect that he seeks to ascribe to the whole episode perfectly suits his personality: “On one occasion, a female political rival claimed that I was looking at her with a ‘hard stare’. I replied: ‘But of course, madam. You are looking at my glass eye,'” he says with a boisterous laugh. An encounter with Le Pen can be a bit of a culture shock. The man is blessed with a rare, intoxicating charisma.’
April 23, 2002
[politics] A French Movement — another Steve Bell cartoon on Jean-Marie Le Pen and the French Presidential Elections.
April 16, 2002
[quote] Texting‘…and I wonder about my fellow citizens. I wonder if there isn’t some collective human core drive toward conservatism. I mean conservatism on its most basic level: fear of change. These familiar white men — familiar both because they’re clones of what we’ve been acculturated to perceive as power, and familiar literally, it’s the exact same people, the same handful, the plutocracy — are they somehow reassuring big daddies, distant and tight-lipped, security conscious and faintly disapproving, a little out of touch, a little authoritarian and secretive, deals out of earshot and quiet phone calls, a potential for real anger, but usually genial and a little hokey; they want what’s best for us, they know what’s best, because they’re father? We don’t need to know the details. They’re in charge, and that’s as it should be.’ [via Wood s Lot]
April 15, 2002
[politics] Look Who’s Talking — Christopher Hitchens interviewed by Lynne Barber … ‘…recently he has amazed everyone – left, right, centre – by coming out firmly in support of Bush’s war on terrorism. This means that for the first time in his life he is in the unfamiliar position of swimming with the tide. But on the other hand it hasn’t made him revise his first impression of Dubya – ‘Eyes so close together he could use a monocle, abnormally unintelligent, could barely read at all, “rescued from the booze by Jesus” – and if there’s one sentence that would piss me off more than any other, that’s it. But one can look on the bright side and say it proves that anyone can be president.’ Is this a sign that he’s moving rightwards?’
April 13, 2002
[politics] Statecraft by Margaret Thatcher — a Digested Read‘First and foremost, you cannot trust any foreigners apart from the Americans. Take Communism away from the Russians and the Eastern Bloc countries and you’re left with a bunch of gangsters and freeloaders. The Chinese think they’re superior and the Middle East is full of people who dress oddly and don’t go to church. Only the Americans have moral right. This is because they speak English, are devout Christians and are very, very big.’
[cartoon] Yet another amazing Steve Bell cartoon — this time on US efforts to promote peace in the Middle East. ‘Peace… in your own time, Man!’
March 22, 2002
[politics] Just What Was He Smoking? — The Washington Post takes a look at audio tapes from Richard Nixon’s White House. ‘…he does explain many other things in these drug tapes, including the insidious nexus between drugs, homosexuality, communism and, of course, Jews. The excerpts begin with the Nixon doctrine on why marijuana is much worse than alcohol: It is because people drink “to have fun” but they smoke marijuana “to get high.” This distinction was evidently enormously significant to Nixon, because he repeats it twice.’ [via Scripting News]
March 14, 2002
[nologo] America is not a hamburger — Naomi Klein on the “rebranding” of America. ‘…Beers views the US tattered international image as little more than a communications problem. Somehow America still hasn’t managed, in Beers’ words, to “get out there and tell our story”. In fact, the problem is just the opposite: America’s marketing of itself has been too effective. Schoolchildren can recite its claims to democracy, liberty and equal opportunity as readily as they can associate McDonald’s with family fun and Nike with athletic prowess. And they expect the US to live up to its claims. If they are angry, as millions clearly are, it’s because they have seen those promises betrayed by US policy.’
March 6, 2002
[politics] You Ask The Questions… Christopher Hitchens … Who is worse — Henry Kissinger or Mother Teresa: ‘With Kissinger, you can tell how many people he killed. With Mother Teresa, who only preached surrender to poverty, disease and ignorance and against family planning, we can’t be sure of the figures. But together they certainly make two out of the four pale riders of the Apocalypse.’
March 5, 2002
[tv] The Truth about me and Louis Theroux — a profile of Ann Widdecombe ‘One thing does, however, leave the viewer still utterly dumbfounded by the end of the show. Widdecombe actually believed that Theroux would stick to his promise of not bringing up her alleged virginity, which, predictably, he does within the first five minutes. (Widdecombe famously threatened to sue a reporter who suggested to her that she wasn’t still a maiden.) “As you probably realised, there was a huge row off-screen,” she says. (There’s a pretty enjoyable on-screen humdinger, too.)’
March 1, 2002
[war] Nixon talked of nuclear bomb for Vietnam … [via Metafilter]

‘Kissinger laid out a variety of options for stepping up the war effort, such as attacking power plants and docks, in an April 25, 1972, conversation in the Executive Office Building.

“I’d rather use the nuclear bomb,” Nixon responded.

“That, I think, would just be too much,” Kissinger replied.

“The nuclear bomb. Does that bother you?” Nixon asked. “I just want you to think big.”‘

February 26, 2002
[cartoon] Steve Bell on Stephen Byers and the Spin Row‘Fuck, Minister.’
January 29, 2002
[people] A couple of interesting articles from The Independent:

  • Don’t mess with the man in the leather skirt — profile of Russell Crowe … ‘I’d move to Los Angeles if Australia and New Zealand were swallowed up in a huge tidal wave. If there were a bubonic plague in England, and if the continent of Africa disappeared from some Martian attack. In Australia, they treat you like a piece of furniture. Your mates are your mates and the folks who hate your dark and bloody guts, they don’t change their minds. That’s why I love it, I suppose.”‘
  • Interview with Tony Benn‘Today, he is wearing House of Commons braces and an old shirt with little burn holes in it. “I burn holes in all my shirts and cardigans all the time. This is the trouble with being a pipe-smoker.” Overall, he has the look of a homely, crumpled, go-ahead vicar. I ask him if the Labour Party ever tried to tart him up, encouraged him to seek advice from a Colour Me Beautiful consultant. “No. And I think that they wouldn’t have succeeded. I’ve still got the coat I was given when I was demobilised in 1946.”‘