I'm a quitter not a fighter

Carol Thatcher, Mormons and other stories...

Week in, week out since we relaunched newstatesman.com a couple of guys from the brilliant journalism school at Cardiff (where I went) have been doing a round-up of political blogs and it’s more than time I mentioned them in despatches. Owen Walker and Adam Haigh write on alternate weeks and are doing a first class job.

Anyway have a read of their entertaining, pithy summaries. If nothing else it’ll save you having to browse some of the more irritating offers out there in the blogosphere.

I know I keep banging on about our Faith Column but it really is a great feature of the website. This past week the fascinating insights of druid Damh. Next week Kathy Van Buskirk, from the Cherokee Nation talks about her religion. Coming up we’ve got another atheist, a Catholic and a Navajo.

Interestingly we’ve tried quite hard to get Mormons to blog but they don’t do it. A spokeswoman from the Mormon Church said all the information you could possibly want is on the Latter Day Saints (LDS) official website (notice I didn’t link). They don’t like people commenting, which is why they don’t like blogging…

Inspite of that we did find a young American woman to write about her conversion to the LDS from being a Southern Baptist but she mentioned it to her Mormon flatmates, they told her church and she got instructed not to proceed! Scary stuff. Almost Mandelsonian in its creepiness! Personally I couldn’t belong to an organisation that controlling. I’m a quitter not a fighter.

I was watching some TV the other night and had the appalling misfortune to come across Carol Thatcher. Now there’s no secret that nepotism is alive and well in world of the media – but ‘Mummy’s War’? Notice the date stamp on this blog entry in case you think I’m making it up! Yes that’s the daughter of Margaret ‘two million unemployed’s a nice number’ Thatcher if there was any question in your mind…

Now I’ve no idea what you think about the sinking of the General Belgrano, but seeing Miss Thatcher in a room with some of the mothers of the men that died on that ship was not a TV highpoint. “It was a war, we shot at you, you shot at us,” she said with the tone of someone who can’t understand the dreadful fuss.

The mothers had apparently misinterpreted the point of the meeting, erroneously thinking they might get some message from Mrs Thatcher – whom they claimed was a war criminal. Why set up a conversation like that? Well I suppose it gives the former prime minister’s daughter something to do. I wonder what Channel 4 will follow it up with - Mark Thatcher goes on safari in Africa?

If you go to Argentina and you’re British, the Falklands War does come up from time to time in conversation. But people weren’t hostile, in my experience, they were just curious to find out your point of view. In fact quite a few people I met believed passionately in Argentina’s sovereignty over the islands but also conceded the point that if they hadn’t lost the war their rotten, murderous dictatorship might not have crumbled quite as fast.

Whatever you think about the war, commissioning Carol Thatcher to front that programme was in excreable taste.