Thursday, 30 September 2010

I’m straight

 . . . not stoned
like Hippie Johnnie is,
I’m straight
and I want to
take his place.

By Jonathan Richman and The Modern lovers.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Calling Iran, Iran calling . . .

The New York Times is marking forty years of the Op-Ed page by republishing a selection from the archive, including this from 2005, Marjane Satrapi on Iran and Israel, and the politics of provocation.

Some BBC World Service radio to go with that: in part five of the World Stories series, Afshin Dehkordi compares the use of internet communications by Iran’s Green Movement with the use of telephone and tape cassette technology by the organisers of the 1979 revolution, interviewing journalist and activist Masih Alinejad, and veteran of 1979 Mohsen Sazegara.

And some related blog posts: Pedestrian on the Society of the Spectacle, and at EA, An Open Letter to All Experts Bashing “Twitter Revolution”.

At the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Iranian Blogger Hossein Derakhshan Receives Over 19 Years In Prison, and Terry Glavin on Hossein Derakhshan.

Image copyright © Marjane Satrapi.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Radio in a bottle

I only recently came across the Speechification radio blog, via a post by illustrator Stephen Kroninger on the case of The Gorbals Vampire, a story of children, comics, and censorship, that began in a Glasgow graveyard in 1954, and led to the Children and Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act 1955, a law that is still in force. A BBC Radio 4 documentary on these bizarre events is preserved at Speechification.

UPDATE 19th October: Speechification has gone off the air, along with its archive. I’m leaving the dead links in place in case of some future change of heart. You might also find cached copies of the blog via Google useful.

Debunking the Islamisation Myth is a substantial attempt by Edmund Standing to distinguish between rational concern about radical Islamist movements, and irrational fears of Britain or other European countries being somehow conquered by political Islam, either via immigration or via conversion. Edmund Standing’s writings are mainly about the extremists of Britain’s racist far right, but he has also written on the extremism of political Islamism, and the interactions between political Islamism and the kitsch element on the left.

In the past I’ve disagreed with Standing’s views on immigration. I don’t know if his thoughts on that have now changed, but this current effort is a good attempt to tackle the problem of the racist right using concern over the extremist Islamist right to gain support for their divisive politics. Some reactions to it here.

Edmund Standing is a frequent contributor to Harry’s Place, a blog which has itself often been criticised for failing to adequately distance itself from racism and religious bigotry in its ongoing effort to cover extremist Islamism in the UK, this criticism being mainly in relation to the commenters it attracts. More on that topic by Flesh is GrassMarko Attila Hoare, and Poumista.

Speechification has two BBC documentaries that complement the above particularly well: from Archive on 4, Hate against Hope, on the struggle against racist extremists in London’s East End in the 1970s and ’80s, and Turkey in Europe, on migration and Islam in Austria and in the Balkans.

After that, a break for some music. Speechification is not just talk, here’s a Radio 3 documentary on outsider composer Moondog. There’s hours more Moondog radio with Irwin Chusid on WFMU here and here, and Mr Chusid blogs Moondog here.

More recently on the WFMU blog, The Comedy Writer That Helped Elect Richard M Nixon, on the superficially counter-culture TV show Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, its head writer Paul Keyes, and the media team of TV and ad men he worked with on Nixon’s campaign. (Spotted by Paul.)

The post details a substantial bit of American political and media history, and reading it is not easy in the WFMU blog format of white text on black. I printed the whole thing out, and it was worth the effort.

The post also goes into the Nixon White House campaign against another TV comedy show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. If, like me, you were unfamiliar with them, may I recommend the following clips in order of ascending madness: Boil That Cabbage Down, a folk song from Israel, and My Old Man.

And to wash that down, one last item from Speechification, The Life and Crimes of Lenny Bruce, a BBC Radio 3 documentary from 1996.

The illustration for this post is a detail from my cover art for The Chesterfield Arrangements, music by Raymond Scott performed by The Metropole Orchestra with The Beau Hunks.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Cake No. 5

Another layer cake of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. For aural colour, dig those Iberian blues at Poumista.

Monday, 20 September 2010

You don’t own me

Performed by Lesley Gore, single version here, in Italian here, and more on the song here.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

“Adolf Hitler was a Roman Catholic”

Pope to Queen on Thursday last:
Even in our own lifetime, we can recall how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially to the Jews, who were thought unfit to live.

I also recall the regime's attitude to Christian pastors and religious who spoke the truth in love, opposed the Nazis and paid for that opposition with their lives.

As we reflect on the sobering lessons of the atheist extremism of the twentieth century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus to a 'reductive vision of the person and his destiny.
Full text and video at BBC News.

Response by Richard Dawkins at the Protest the Pope rally on Saturday:
Hitler, Adolf Hitler, was a Roman Catholic. He was baptised, he never renounced his baptism. The figure of five million British Catholics is presumably obtained from baptismal figures. I don’t believe a word of it, I don’t believe there are five or six million British Catholics; there may have been five or six million who were baptised, but if the church wants to claim them as Catholics, then they have to claim Hitler as a Catholic.
And it gets worse, or better depending on your point of view. Full speech in this video:

More on Hitler the declared anti-atheist, his grounding in a ‘real Christianity’, and his support for faith schools, from Johnny Guitar.

Two posts at Shiraz Socialist, Letters to the ‘Graun’: the Catholic Church and Nazism, and Betrayal, Conspiracies, Sacrilege, Heresies.

Rosie Bell writes More Vatican PR.

Ophelia Benson at Butterflies & Wheels has several short posts on the Pope’s botheration of Britain, but I recommend this one in particular: Siding with the already strong.

The drawing at the top is one of a set for an article on Italian food from In Dublin magazine, issue No. 296, 18 February 1988. The rest are below.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Pope on the ropes

Dermot Morgan speaks for himself, from In Dublin magazine, 6 February 1986, a good few years before the marvels of Father Ted. The pope costume was from the video for his single, Thank you very much Mr Eastwood. Where can I get a copy?

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Burning cartoonists

If burning books brings on fears of people being next for burning, how much more dreadful it must be to see a burning effigy, and see that it’s an effigy of you.

From the New York Times:
A cartoonist in Seattle who promoted an “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” last spring is now in hiding after her life was threatened by Islamic extremists.

The cartoonist, Molly Norris, has changed her name and has stopped producing work for a local alternative newspaper, Seattle Weekly, according to the newspaper’s editor, Mark D. Fefer.

Mr. Fefer declined an interview request Thursday, citing “the sensitivity of the situation.” But in a letter to readers about Ms. Norris on Wednesday, he said that “on the insistence of top security specialists at the F.B.I., she is, as they put it, ‘going ghost’: moving, changing her name, and essentially wiping away her identity.”

The F.B.I. declined to comment on the case.

Ms. Norris attracted attention after she published a poster on the Internet in April satirically proposing that people draw figures of the Prophet Muhammad on May 20.

She indicated that the proposal was a protest of censorship by Comedy Central, which edited out references to Muhammad from an episode of “South Park” that month.

Her drawing. Larger here.

Earlier pyromania here.

Moves against Mousavi

BBC News:
Iranian security forces have raided the office of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, his website has reported.

Agents entered the premises late on Wednesday and took away computers and some of his belongings, it said.

The statement described the attack as a "new phase of restrictions". The Iranian government has not commented.

Excerpts from Enduring America’s daily roundup:
0730 GMT: We open this morning with a far-from-subtle threat by Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi, as reported by the Tehran Times: "Iran has granted furloughs to 20 political prisoners. However, their names will not be announced so that they can spend their leave without any problems, 'but of course as long as they act according to the furlough rules'."

Doulatabadi backed up the threat with the general declaration that his office would try the "leaders of sedition"

1230 GMT: The Blockade of the Opposition. Continuing the restrictions on contact with Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi, Iranian authorities prevented members of the youth branch of Karroubi's Etemade Melli party from seeing the cleric on Wednesday.

1300 GMT: The Sword Drops? Kalemeh, the website of Mir Hossein Mousavi, is reporting that Mousavi's offices were raided by Iranian security forces last night. Documents, equipment, and computers were taken.

The raid follows the blockade of Mousavi's offices, preventing visits, and this week's arrest of his head of office.
Much more at EA.

Rooz, Wednesday 15th:
Mir-Hossein Mousavi issued a response to the increasing security measures imposed against him, including preventing people and political personalities from meeting with him. The wartime prime minister announced, “Security measures will not solve the problems of those in power.” Mousavi also advised the regime to fear people’s wrath, not him.

News reports of the detention and interrogation of people wishing to visit Mousavi surfaced while the Tehran police chief announced that the participants in the siege against Mehdi Karoubi’s house will be prosecuted.

Mehdi Karoubi’s house was under siege since about two weeks ago by forces described by those close to Mr. Karoubi as agents of the regime.

Tehran Bureau, Monday 13th: Hardliners close in on Mousavi, “Sedition” case launched in judiciary.

Drawing copyright © Mana Neyestani. More on the artist in this earlier post.

Recently at Pedestrian: Do we want life to go on in Tehran? and The Green Sedition Festival.

Cake No. 4

This one isn’t finished yet, but here is the drawing in progress for the magenta plate, pen and ink on paper.

Cartoonist Jim Woodring, a much more experienced and accomplished penman than myself, regrets the decline in use of the dip pen by artists. To promote interest in the instrument, he plans to make and master the use of an enormous working ink pen, with a 16 inch pen nib and a six foot handle. He explains the project here. A sketch of the nib is on his blog here.

Added Friday: Below, first CMYK proof.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Cake No. 3

Digital proof from four colour separations hand-drawn with pen and ink on paper.

For genuine Goyas, take a tour with Jams O’Donnell. For more cake, come back tomorrow.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

No cake today . . .

. . . instead a few links:

Spectacles and symmetries, book burners and asymmetries, tyre burners and fatalities, remembering the book bombers.

Added: An author remembers watching his books being burned, and more.
Added: A book is for reading.

Observe continuing categorisation of convolutions and convulsions on the left(s) at Bob’s place. Confused? Never fear, here’s a guide to the players.

“I believe the children are our future . . .”

More cake tomorrow.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Cake No. 1

Digital proof from four colour separations hand-drawn with pen and ink on paper.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Patriotism for sale

Peter Hessler’s book Oracle Bones is about his experiences working in China from 1999 to 2002, going from being a clipper at the Beijing bureau of the Wall Street Journal to a feature writer for The New Yorker and others. An earlier book that I haven’t read, River Town, is about his time as an english teacher in China.

Oracle Bones covers his view of the big news stories of those years, the 1999 US bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, the 2001 collision between a US electronic surveillance plane and a Chinese fighter jet, the suppression of the Falun Gong movement, and the massive economic change taking place in China.

A great part of the book looks at these events through the experiences of friends and ex-students, giving a strong sense of the struggles of individuals with little power having to navigate a life in unstable times.

At the same  time he traces a story of Chinese archaeology, of the history of Chinese writing, and of the lives of archaeologists through all the conflicts from the Boxer Uprising through to the Cultural Revolution.

Peter Hessler was in China at the time of the 9/11 attacks. He describes how bootleg DVDs and VCDs of the attacks appeared in video shops as soon as three days after the attacks. The covers for the 9/11 videos were designed to look like Hollywood blockbusters, with scrambled credits and blurbs in english lifted from other films, “TOUCHSTONE PICTURES presenta JERRY BRUCKHEIMER production david TOM HANKS silen TWITNESS,” and so on. Two of them have credits lifted from Patton. He writes that the Patton credits were particularly common on all sorts of bootlegs, even a movie on high school cheerleading.

The official Chinese government response to the attacks was one of sympathy and solidarity in the face of terrorism, but Peter Hessler found the popular response to be quite different, with anti-Americanism quite common, unsurprisingly in view of the historic and recent antagonism between China and the US:
In part, it seemed to be habit - so many years of anti-American propaganda had settled into people’s minds. But it was also connected to everything that had been left out of the news. In the past, the media had rarely reported on tensions in Xinjiang - like Tibet, it was generally portrayed as a peaceful place whose indigenous people were happy to be a part of China. Few average Chinese knew that their own government was concerned about the spread of Islam in the West.
Watching the Chinese 9/11 bootlegs, the contents of some reflected the covers, swiping Hollywood soundtrack music, and even cutting in clips from Hollywood films with the news footage. And then there was the VCD made up of coverage by Phoenix Television:
After the attacks, Phoenix Television had cut advertisements and broadcast live for thirty-six hours. That was the only privately owned Chinese-language news station that broadcast on the mainland, and it was also the only network that covered the event so closely. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation owned 40 percent of Phoenix, which was based in Hong Kong but targeted mainland cable subscribers. The station hoped someday to become the CNN of China. Phoenix’s access to the Chinese market depended on a good relationship with the Communist Party, and sometimes the private station’s coverage was even more nationalistic than that of the government stations. [...]
One of the VCDs that I found in Yueqing had been compiled mostly from Phoenix broadcasts. Whereas the government had avoided any criticism of America, Phoenix’s tone was completely different. In the hours after the attacks, the station featured a man named Cao Jingxing, who was identified only as a “Political Commentator.” He said, “Why aren’t other countries hated like the United States of America? Let’s try to think about that.” He commented on the hijackings: “Why were the hostages taken so easily? The glory of the Americans was lost in just a few seconds.” [...]
The Chinese-language station use Fox footage of New York and Washington, D.C., which was almost as disorienting as the Hollywood cut-ins. The Fox logo appeared in the corner, and the images were the same ones that Americans watched, but here the shots were joined by the anti-American commentary in Chinese. I remembered Willy’s comment about the Chinese government being unable to express the way that it really felt. That was politics, but this was business; the media gave the people what they wanted. News Corp. used the same footage to sell patriotism in America and in China, and in both places the people bought it.

Thanks to Enda for the book.

Friday, 10 September 2010


From Flora of London Bombed Sites 1950, a collection at the Department of Botany, The Natural History Museum, London, a pressed specimen of Chamaenerion angustifolium, also called Rosebay Willowherb, or Fireweed. This was collected in Holborn.

Image copyright © The Natural History Museum, London.

Fireweed is also the title of a joint show by Liz Davis, Clare Gerrard, and Susanna Jacobs, at Exhibit at Golden Lane Estate, London. The joint theme of their work is wild flora in the City of London. More details about their work at

The show runs until the 2nd of October, and the gallery is open Tuesday to Friday 11 am to 6 pm, Saturdays 11 am to 5 pm.

The Golden Lane Estate was built in 1958 on the north part of the Barbican bomb site, and the Barbican Estate was built later on the rest of it. In the period between the bombing and redevelopment, this part of London became overgrown and wild.

As well as showing a series of drawings, Susanna produced a short piece of animation for the exhibition. It imagines Golden Lane as a wilderness, not just the wilderness of the bomb site, but also a wilderness before London, before humans came, and after they pass away. Living in Golden Lane Estate, as we did for seven years, it often suggests wilderness. The layout of the estate suggests the ruined walls and cellars of the bomb site, and where nature finds a space in the gaps, deliberate or accidental, it becomes all the more notable against the stark concrete.

Susanna also produced a more lighthearted animation with children for an earlier part of the project, titled Then You Were Gone.

The frames below are from footage included in the TV documentary Classic Homes: Tower Blocks (1998), but come originally from a documentary made in the late 1940s or early ’50s. They show the Barbican bomb site, destroyed in a firestorm on the night of 29 December 1940. The first shows St Giles’ church, now contained within the Barbican residential estate. I don’t know the name of the original film, and would love to hear from anyone who recognises it.

There is a full and vivid account of the raid in London Before the Blitz by Richard Trench. He describes the history of the area, just outside London’s Roman city wall, “swamp and heath, a wild and lonely place, until the expansion of London in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries”. A few snippets from his book follow.

The Barbican had always been outside the City walls. In the Middle Ages it had been a heath, inhabited by outcasts, outlaws, marginals, mad people and prostitutes. Shacks and wooden houses were built and a market grew up in Whitecross Street, avoiding the City tolls because it was outside the walls. In 1545 the Barbican burnt down. The Elizabethans tried to clean it up but never quite succeeded. The prostitutes, the unlicensed craftsmen, the semi-legal market stallholders and the dubious businesses on the edge of bankruptcy stayed. Outside the walls, the Barbican survived the Great Fire of 1666, but almost perished in the Great Cripplegate Fire of 1897. The fire had started in an ostrich feather warehouse in Well Street off Jewin Street and spread through the six-storey warehouses and sweatshops filled with inflammable draperies, sheets, cotton rolls and dyes. ‘There were blazing shops and warehouses on either side, brickwork and debris of every kind were crashing down everywhere, and the heat was terrific,’ wrote Jack While, the Fleet Street journalist. ‘I got saturated to the skin over and over again, but I only had to go and stand in front of a blazing shop to dry my clothes.’ In spite of 228 firemen, 128 warehouses were burnt down throwing four thousand people, mostly women, out of work.

Richard Trench describes the Auxiliary Fire Service’s first major exercise in November 1938 through the eyes of Commander Aylmer Firebrace, Chief Officer of the London Fire Brigade, observing the event at Redcross Street Fire Station:

The exercise had already started, though you could hardly tell by the indifferent poses of the telephonists. There were fires in Jewin Crescent, fires in London Wall, fires in Silver Street. Some were checked by Auxiliaries’ pumps, trundled up to the fires behind taxis. Others spread unattended. Off-duty regulars shrugged their shoulders as Falcon Street, Wood Street, Addle Street and Love Lane burnt to the ground, treating the whole thing with the patronizing contempt of nannies leaving the children alone in the nursery. The exercise went on all night, and by early morning the overflowing offices, warehouses and sweatshops of ‘Fire Island’ had proved too much for the well-meaning amateurs of the Auxiliary Fire Service. The independent referees announced that the fires had won. Theoretically the Barbican was burning all around them.

The real thing came on the night of 29 December 1940. I can’t do justice to Mr Trench’s telling of it with just a small sampling, so I recommend getting the book. Instead, here is a little on the aftermath:

Next morning, as the firestorm died down, bedraggled groups of firemen, wardens, heavy rescue men and policemen assembled on the periphery and tentatively made their way into the smouldering ruins. Len Hunt and his electricity repair party joined them. They had assembled in Smithfield, crossed Aldersgate Street and walked into the Barbican. It was 9.00 am, Monday morning. The wind had died down and a million fragments of ash and embers snowed down on them. The tarmac in the road was still burning in places. A few walls, strengthened by their chimneys, stood like headstones. The remaining buildings were ghosts, their positions marked by piles of rubble. Only the shell of St Giles’, Whitbread's Brewery and irony upon ironies - Redcross Street Fire Station stood upright. South of St Giles’ along London Wall stretches of the Roman wall revealed themselves for the first time in 200 years. The electricity repair party made its way to the sub-station on Beech Street. They wanted to know if it was still there. The sub-station was deep underground, three floors beneath the firestorm. It was there. Not a screw was out of place. It had been protected by eight feet of water that had run from the firemen's hoses into the gutters and ended up in the sub-station. There would be no problem pumping it out. Firemen were standing around on street level with empty hoses. At this point the repair party should have gone round the streets and turned all the electricity boxes off. But there was no point. There were no boxes left. There was nothing. Len looked around him and thought that this was the most terrible thing that could happen; and for him it was, for the Coventry details had been censored and Dresden was still a name on a map.

As Len considered the destruction, the men of Redcross Street Fire Station reoccupied their posts. The fire reported on the roofjust before they evacuated had been blown out by the high winds created by the conflagration. Apart from a partly burnt roof the station was untouched. The sub-officer in charge came in carrying an unexploded incendiary. On it was its date and the firm's stamp. It had been made in 1938 by an engineering company in Islington, who had exported fire bombs to Germany right up to the declaration of war.

The Home Guard used the ruins to train in street-fighting techniques and the Cripplegate Rifle Range for target practice. 1941 became 1942. The Barbican was forgotten and returned to what it once had been, a heath. The wild flowers and weeds advanced from the railway lines and colonized the wasteland; fennel growing through rubble, foxglove next to blackened timbers, ragwort pushing up through bricks, brambles weaving around broken glass, and everywhere were the big purple flowers that people called fireweed. With the flowers came the animals, coming into the ruins along the same railway tracks, foxes, rabbits, field mice, rats and bats. Then the humans arrived, and the cellars and basements beneath the chop shops, sweatshops, warehouses, pubs, tailors, stationers, silk merchants, solicitors, furriers and hatters, became the homes of deserters, prostitutes, spivs, runaways, and marginals the people of the heath.

The firemen who reoccupied Redcross Street Fire Station tolerated them, imposing their sense of order no further than the waste ground behind the station where they established a vegetable patch and a piggery; so did the watchmen who camped in a cavern on the corner of Aldermanbury and London Wall guarding relics salvaged from the company's halls and a mountain of timber.

In the centre of the wilderness was St Giles’, where the two wild and innocent teenagers, Barbary and Raoul, first met Mavis in Rose Macaulay’s The World My Wilderness. She was one of the people of the heath.
The girl was from Bankside, and had worked as a messenger in the city until her place of business had gone up in flames. She knew the ruins intimately, calling them and the anonymous alleys that ran between them by their old names, peopling them with industrious businessmen, chattering tea-bibulous typists, messengers and clerks: she moved among ghosts, herself solid, cheerful and unconcerned . . .

“I am very, very fond of ruins, ruins I love to scan,” Mavis hummed. She pointed across the wilderness towards the bastion. “That’s Mr Monty’s room up there, that was. Mr Monty always had his jokes. He’d look in at the warehouse - that was our warehouse, that pit with the pink flowers and nettles all over it - pretty, isn’t it? Mr Monty’d look in and speak to old Mr Dukes, he was the head clerk, and he’d have his joke with him, except on a Monday morning, and then it was look out for squalls. Poor Mr Dukes, he was ever so upset when it all went; for weeks he’d go wandering about the ruins, seeing if he could save anything, but of course he couldn’t, what the fire left the rescue men grabbed as quick as you could say knife . . .”

They climbed out through the window, and made their way along the ruined jungled waste, walking along broken lines of wall, diving into the cellars and caves of the underground city, where opulent merchants had once stored their wine, where gaily tiled rooms opened into one another and burrowed under great eaves of over-hanging earth, where fosses and ditches ran, bright with marigolds and choked with thistles, through one-time halls of commerce and yellow ragwort waved its gaudy banners over the ruin of defeated businessmen.

Related links:
A timeline of the Blitz at The Guardian.
In The Independent, a report and slide show on the exhibition Under Attack at the London Transport Museum, covering the bombing of London, Coventry, and Dresden.
Class War in the Blitz at Shiraz Socialist.

UPDATE: a follow up post with more about the film footage, and about a children’s novel Fireweed by Jill Paton Walsh.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

“The half ain’t been told.”

From a slide show at The New Yorker, Jack Delano’s 1942 photo of a Chicago Defender newsboy.

The images accompany an article from last week’s issue by Jill Lepore, reviewing oral histories of the Great Migration, the 20th Century journey of six million African-Americans from the South to the northern cities of the US, and in particular a recent book by Isabel Wilkerson, The Warmth of Other Suns.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Anti-war and anti-peace protesters in multiple missile launch

Missiles miss target. From The Guardian:
Skirmishes broke out between protesters and police at the first public signing for Tony Blair's memoirs, with shoes and eggs hurled at the former prime minister.

Four men were arrested and charged with public order offences for their part in the protest this morning outside Eason's bookshop on O'Connell Street in Dublin, Ireland, which involved anti-war demonstrators and the Continuity IRA-aligned Republican Sinn Féin, who oppose the Northern Ireland peace process.
Protesters were outnumbered by paying customers, according to BBC News.

Mr Blair also appeared on Irish television during his visit, on The Late Late Show, more of a razzle dazzle affair than the earlier BBC interview, and with nicer looking chairs too.

Terry Glavin has reaction from Ulster Unionists: A Legitimate And Peaceful Request For Cheddar Cheese And Pineapple On A Stick.

Added Monday: Norm attempts a theory of Blair-hatred, and James Bloodworth shows it’s possible to write a list of Blair criticisms that doesn’t mention the war. On the Iraq war, General Dannatt reiterates his own criticism of Blair, a rather different one to that of the protesters.