Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Top 50 Political Myths

Total Politics has published a list of fifty of the most common myths in British politics. Some have been busted in recent years, others are a real surprise. I pick just three highlights:
33. Jimmy Carter was attacked by a killer rabbit

Fishing near his hometown of Plains, Georgia in 1979, the then President realised a large swamp rabbit was swimming towards his boat. A flustered Carter had to flail at it with his oars. The story leaked out, and it became known as the Killer Rabbit Incident after a Washington Post cartoon.
Life nearly imitated art as this was a few years after Monty Python and the Holy Grail gave us the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog,
25. David Mellor wore a Chelsea kit while making love

Made up by Max Clifford, but this delightful image contributed to the John Major government being beset by sleaze and sex scandals in the early 1990s.
It also meant that at the time people believed there was at least one person in a Chelsea kit who could score so many times. Fortunately things have changed since then...
13. Margaret Thatcher was hugely popular as Prime Minister

Despite her undeniable obliteration of most political rivals - until her own party stabbed her in the back - Thatcher never won more than 43 per cent of the vote in her three general election victories.
Something I wish ardent Thatcherites would remember this when acting as political Sirens.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The last volunteer

During the First World War this country appealed for volunteers to join the armed forces. To many men it meant leaving their homes for a long time. It meant risking their lives. For many it meant taking a significant salary cut. But to say the response was overwhelming would be a huge understatement. If the country needed such manpower ever again I wonder if we'd see even a remotely similar response.

The men who volunteered fought in atrocious conditions but they gave it their all and more. Many made the ultimate sacrifice. This country owes so much to them.

Today the last of the volunteers, Henry Allingham, has died. With his passing the entire generation of volunteers have passed into history.

In his final years Allingham was determined that his comrades and their sacrifice were not forgotten. This final mission was a success.


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