Monday, 6 January 2014

The great observationalist



“The nanny seemed to be extinct until 1975, when, like the coelacanth, she suddenly and unexpectedly reappeared in the shape of Margaret Thatcher.”

“To be loathed by Tony Benn is something any political writer of my age would sell their grannies for. I feel humbled by his hatred... He says that he was 'a great admirer of Mao...he made mistakes, because everybody does'. True enough. I certainly do. But my mistakes do not make me possibly the greatest mass killer in history. Here are the figures: Number of innocent people who died in the Great Leap Forward, through Mao’s policies for the countryside and from mass executions: between 40 and 65 million. Number of deaths caused by me: 0. But Benn greatly admired Mao.”

"When I was collecting material for a political gossip column, and someone said something interesting, I would wait for them to add, 'and I don't want to read that in your magazine!' In which case I wouldn't use it. But if they didn't remember to say it, I'd nip off to the loo, write the story up, come back and change the subject."

"I know of no wars started by anyone to impose lack of religion on someone else. We have lethal Sunni v Shia, Catholic against Protestant, but no agnostic suicide bombers attack crowded atheist pubs."

"If you read the 'Daily Mail,' you would imagine that the British middle classes lead lives of unremitting misery."

"Every time humanists try to get a slot on 'Thought For the Day' on Radio 4, they are told it's reserved for 'the faith community,' whatever that is. Yet 'TfT' is almost always pabulum about how God wants us all to love each other and care for the unfortunate. I'm sure humanists would say much the same, without God."


RIP Simon Hoggart, broadcaster, journalist and writer extraordinaire.

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