Daily Archives: March 4, 2008

If you browse down my blogroll, you will see a link to the excellent and eclectic Normblog.

Norm has asked me to write a piece on a favourite book, which you can find here. Seeing my effort on screen, it seems extremely short and perfunctory. But some of the other efforts in Norm’s “writers choice” series are really good. I particularly recommend the essays by John Lloyd, Francis Wheen and Christopher Hitchens.

In my earlier musings on the character of my fellow columnist, I left out one other abiding impression from our time at The Economist. It really is a big mistake to get into a prolonged argument with Clive. Once riled he is relentless. The conversation will only end when Clive has nailed your head to the floor (figuratively speaking, obviously).

So I’m going to accept his invitation. Let’s call it quits. History can judge whether Obama is an orator to be ranked alongside King, Kennedy at el. But I think we should take a broad view of what history means. Let’s wait at least 200 years before we form a definitive judgement.

While we’re waiting, can I offer some short-term predictions. Obama will win the nomination. Obama will win the presidency. Obama will then deliver an inaugural speech that is so brilliant and moving, that even I will be reduced to tears (without the assistance of an onion.) And within 18 months Clive Crook and many of Obama’s former fans will be bitterly disappointed – so it will be left to me to argue that he’s not so bad really.

Meanwhile, I was amused by this analysis of my relationship with my present and former colleague that appeared on the comments section of the Crook blog: Read more


Nikita Krushchev, the leader of the Soviet Union in 1956, told the western world: “We will bury you.” Now Dmitry Medvedev, the newly elected president of Russia, has come back with a revised offer: “We will buy you.” Read more