Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Competition: Guess the Journalist 101

Sometimes Oxford, that much-maligned national institution, so often associated only with Brideshead and the Bullingdon, really gets it right. When I was a young Fellow at All Souls, there was one other member of college – not Isaiah Berlin - who liked the Happy Mondays and New Order, and his name was Marcus du Sautoy. I nicknamed him Dr Maths. He was a young mathematician whose references were almost too good to believe. He dressed like a student, had changeable hair colour, was a great cook, loved music and Arsenal, and spent his evening at theatre workshops. He was also, without a shadow of a doubt, the cleverest person I had ever met. But like all truly brilliant people, he wore his prodigious intellect lightly, almost as if it were separate to his personality.

Tory leader David Cameron's two-year-old son, Arthur Elwyn, was with his parents on Rupert Murdoch's yacht off a Greek island in August. So far, so media-mogul-courts-Tory-leader-to-do-his-bidding. Except poor little Arthur must have been struggling with the Mediterranean diet and, let's not mince our words here, did a massive shit in Murdoch's Jacuzzi.

Meanwhile, Hayekian commentators are sharpening their knives against "Brown's misty-eyed Keynesian adventure". The argument has not been won yet: Labour has to make the case eloquently, as opinion polls show profound scepticism of government's ability to spend money well. Conservatives may be wavering, uncertain which way the public will jump, but Labour would be rash to think pro-Keynesianism was a done deal. There has been premature talk of tectonic plates shifting and sea changes: the left is good at seeing new dawns in public consciousness.

I think any of these could be submitted to the Turing Test, and stand a good chance of passing it.

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