* I think the _New Scientist_ has just published its most haunting headline: [“Moths drink the tears of sleeping birds”:http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn10826&feedId=online-news_rss20]
* The _Mail’s_ hatchet job on Tom Butler this morning deserves proper analysis. I particularly like the way that they make it sound sinister that he went around a party introducing himself to people as “The Bishop of Southwark”.
* The difference between Mussolini and Tony Blair is that Mussolini would never have tolerated English rail services. Last night, every single tube line running east from Notting Hill/ Kensington/Ladbroke Grove was broken down and out of service. The last train from Liverpool Street to Cambridge was scheduled to run at 9.30 — all subsequent services would have the last part replaced by a bus journey — and actually ran twenty minutes late; in anticipation, the waiting room at Bishop Stortford was locked at ten pm.
* Steven Poole’s “suggestion”:http://unspeak.net/a-robust-effort/ that George W Bush be awarded a prize for rhetoric carved out of a single lump of human excrement has merit.
* I was talking last night to Perry Worsthorne, who has worn astonishingly well. [“His reminiscence of Frank Johnson”:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/12/17/nfrank17.xml] was, he said, the first time he had been allowed to write for the _Sunday Telegraph_ since being sacked as its editor fifteen years ago. It is extremely perceptive in thinking that journalistic excellence was not the most admirable part of his character: that was his delight in real culture and the efforts to be made to absorb it. But it also contains a remarkable piece of abuse in passing: %(sane)”It nearly happened when he had at last been given an editorial chair, at _The Spectator,_ the first non-university man to have been put in charge of that highbrow journal. Understandably, it went to his head a bit and he did not even try to disguise his contempt for the philistine management apparatchik which Conrad Black had put in charge of the business side.”%
The reference (and the pronoun) are to Kimberly Fortier, who became the mistress, then the nemesis, of David Blunkett.
* “Journalistic excellence” — my old friend Ed Steen was reminiscing about an elderly mentor of his, whose expenses from Vietnam were supposed to have brought the accounts department of Rupert Murdoch’s entire Australian operation to a halt for three and a half months. See also the man who hired, on behalf of the _Times,_ an ocean-going tug to get out to a sunken cross-channel ferry, at a cost of £8,000 for an hour’s voyage.
fn1. he agrees with me