The devil may care

Satanism, Father Ted, the London Mayoral race and other matters

Sign Up

Get the New Statesman's Morning Call email.

Since we relaunched we've had a growing number of comments on the website - often not as many as I'd like but as our readership grows so do the numbers of participants in debates. Normally the exchanges have been pretty civilised but this week our Faith Column was written by a Satanist and things got, well, rather hot.

Have a read of Umberto Ray's four entries here. I'm afraid we had to remove some of the more insulting contributions but - despite that reluctant piece of censorship - there are still some pretty fruity comments from Satanists and their opponents alike.

Including the Rev Ray was the idea of William Hilderbrandt - an American intern whose been doing sterling work here at Terminal House for the past few weeks. He's off to Madagascar to walk among the animals and we wish him well.

Anyway I had two communications from people who have read the New Statesman since the 1940s this week. One of them told me how he was introduced to the mag by one of the few left-leaning masters at his school in Lincoln.

As it happens our perdurable subscriptions manager Stephen Brasher suggested we should develop some sort of online forum for our our longtime readers. Please do get in touch if you know of anyone who would be interested in taking part!

Next week we're focusing on the primaries that will decide on who will be Conservative candidate in next year's London mayoral contest.

Any registered voter in the capital can take part in the primary. More about that and the runners and riders coming up...

Look out for our blog from the Heathrow climate camp. Amoung those attending will be our very own writers Sian Berry and Marina Pepper.

Plus we've got a debate on the benefits (or otherwise) of cannabis, and after that we going to try to focus on what the word 'posh' means in 2007.

I bought the complete Father Ted a little while ago before my TV broke. Anyway tis mended and I've spent the past few days reminding myself about what was probably the comedy of the 1990s.

The cast was fantastic and the writing superb. Pauline McLynn's Mrs Doyle has to be one of the funniest comic creations I've ever seen.

It's easy to forget but for a while the three series helped spawn a whole new vocabulary with 'feck', 'drink' and 'gerrls' not to mention 'go on, go on, go on, go on'.

Unfortunately while trying to work the DVD machine I also caught a bit of Eastenders. Apparently someone I've never heard of mugged someone I've never seen. Thrilling stuff. Less on that next week.

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.