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Monday, November 29th, 2004

Time Event
Two snippets on Sunday
No time for a proper entry, but two things amused me today.

One is that the senior civil servant charged with setting up an enquiry into whether or not David Blunkett (the Home Secretary) acted corruptly over getting a residence permit for the Filipino maid of his right-wing mistress is my old, or rather former friend, John Gieve.

It is really a very good thing that I stopped being deputy chair of Liberty because it is bad enough knowing one of the Junior Ministers; knowing the Permanent Secretary as well would be too embarrassing.

How can I be a counter-cultural alternative voice with all these terribly establishment connections? (How indeed? say the Plain People of Hackney.)


The other thing was an article in an old History Today which argues that the mummified or otherwise preserved corpse of Alexander the Great disappears from history in the early days of Christian dominance, roughly speaking. Yet no-one boasts of having destroyed it, and a cynical person would argue that a well-preserved corpse was equally likely to get recycled as a relic of a saint.And of course there is one wonderful candidate for this - the alleged body of St. Mark, which the Venetians eventually stole and which lies to this day under the high altar of St. Mark's Cathedral. After all, how would an apostle have had their body preserved in one durable piece - apart from miracles? How much more likely that relics dealers nicked Alexander and faked a provenance?

I mean, I know that the Buddha accidentally became a saint of the mediaeval church - St Josaphat's legend is a garbled version of the vision of the sick man, the old man and the corpse - but how much classier for Alexander to have ended up posthumously as a standin for an apostle and evangelist?

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