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Writing Worth Reading

Tony Benn: Wicked Or Merely Stupid? (1981)

From the archives. Profile of Tony Benn (who died this week) from 1981 when Benn was the champion of socialism, Britain was in turmoil, and Mrs Thatcher was beginning her revolution. “There is war in Ireland; the cities are on fire; the pound sterling has become a joke: productivity is at prewar levels. In a country like this it is not surprising, and may even be necessary, that the leader of the Left is a member of the aristocracy” (5,200 words)

Wine Drinkers Of The World, Unite

Reprint of classic column from 2008. Waiters should not pour your wine. “The vile practice of butting in and pouring wine without being asked is the very height of the second kind of bad manners. Not only is it a breathtaking act of rudeness in itself, but it conveys a none-too-subtle and mercenary message: Hurry up and order another bottle. Imagine this same tactic being applied to the food” (925 words)

I Fought The Law

Glorious paragraph opens this piece in which Hitchens goes on a one-man crime spree around New York to protest about petty laws and ordinances. Takes his feet off his bike pedals, feeds pigeons, sits around on milk crates and so on

Simply Evil

“Responsibility, somehow, never lay squarely with the perpetrators.” Hitchens reflects on a decade since 9/11: “There turned out to be many millions of Arabs who have heretically and robustly preferred life over death”

Chomsky’s Follies

Chomsky fires (provocatively). Hitchens returns. “Guru of the left” is in “9/11 denial”. He writes as if mass of evidence against Bin Laden has never been presented. And is he seriously suggesting that the US deserved the attack?

Beware The In-Laws

Entertaining republican rant from Christopher Hitchens. The Queen gets off lightly compared with lesser royals. A refreshing reminder of the fallibility of royalty and its trappings. But does he have a soft spot for Kate?

Blair Hitch Project

On debating Tony Blair in Toronto. “The high-wattage grin was still there, framed in a lined face with cropped and graying hair that still gave the ephemeral impression of youth. I asked him in private what it was like to be hated”

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