How I destroyed a family

Causing a schism for Tembaletu

It’s not often an article you write destroys a family so it’s with some pride I can announce that - almost entirely accidentally - I have caused a schism between a father and his son.

Alas, I can only claim part of the credit. It stems from an article I wrote in this week’s mag about buying an argument at an auction. The professional contrarian I hired, Tony Barnett, then spent nearly an hour insulting the whole concept of blogging (that’s a slight exaggeration). As it happens his son writes a blog and his almost immediate response can be read here. What fun…

Unfortunately, after this experience, Tony says he won't be offering his services again which is a shame because he is very good at what he does.

Anyway, you probably ask, why hire a LSE professor for an argument? Well the short answer is I couldn’t afford one from UCL - London University's greatest college and my alma mater.

But mainly it was to help Tembaletu school in South Africa which provides education and much, much more for disabled children who live in the townships around Cape Town. Mind you they describe their pupils as
"differently abled" which I like a lot.

I’d never been to a charity auction before but this one was fantastic – the person wielding the hammer was actor Miriam Margolyes which in itself made turning up worthwhile. You can a read a bit more about the evening by clicking this link.

Oh and I should mention that most of the credit for this fundraising achievement should go to Brenda Goldstein and her team who organised it!

If you want to support the school, donations can be sent to Friends of Tembaletu, 138 Middle Lane, Crouch End, London N8 7JP.

Ben Davies trained as a journalist after taking most of the 1990s off. Prior to joining the New Statesman he spent five years working as a politics reporter for the BBC News website. He lives in North London.
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“Trembling, shaking / Oh, my heart is aching”: the EU out campaign song will give you chills

But not in a good way.

You know the story. Some old guys with vague dreams of empire want Britain to leave the European Union. They’ve been kicking up such a big fuss over the past few years that the government is letting the public decide.

And what is it that sways a largely politically indifferent electorate? Strikes hope in their hearts for a mildly less bureaucratic yet dangerously human rights-free future? An anthem, of course!

Originally by Carly You’re so Vain Simon, this is the song the Leave.EU campaign (Nigel Farage’s chosen group) has chosen. It is performed by the singer Antonia Suñer, for whom freedom from the technofederalists couldn’t come any suñer.

Here are the lyrics, of which your mole has done a close reading. But essentially it’s just nature imagery with fascist undertones and some heartburn.

"Let the river run

"Let all the dreamers

"Wake the nation.

"Come, the new Jerusalem."

Don’t use a river metaphor in anything political, unless you actively want to evoke Enoch Powell. Also, Jerusalem? That’s a bit... strong, isn’t it? Heavy connotations of being a little bit too Englandy.

"Silver cities rise,

"The morning lights,

"The streets that meet them,

"And sirens call them on

"With a song."

Sirens and streets. Doesn’t sound like a wholly un-authoritarian view of the UK’s EU-free future to me.

"It’s asking for the taking,

"Trembling, shaking,

"Oh, my heart is aching."

A reference to the elderly nature of many of the UK’s eurosceptics, perhaps?

"We’re coming to the edge,

"Running on the water,

"Coming through the fog,

"Your sons and daughters."

I feel like this is something to do with the hosepipe ban.

"We the great and small,

"Stand on a star,

"And blaze a trail of desire,

"Through the dark’ning dawn."

Everyone will have to speak this kind of English in the new Jerusalem, m'lady, oft with shorten’d words which will leave you feeling cringéd.

"It’s asking for the taking.

"Come run with me now,

"The sky is the colour of blue,

"You’ve never even seen,

"In the eyes of your lover."

I think this means: no one has ever loved anyone with the same colour eyes as the EU flag.

I'm a mole, innit.