Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Two reasons to mark November 30th

As the good folks at Powerline note today is the anniversary of the birth of Sir Winston Churchill. More particularly it is the 130th anniversary of that momentous occasion. Slowly the generation that knew him are passing away. It is a sign of the times that, as Norman Geras relates, 'a survey among academics specialising in modern British history and politics' find Churchill comes second place to Clement Attlee as the most successful Prime Minister in the 20th century. Personally I feel this says more about those 'academics' (and I must seriously question the academic abilities of any who think the NHS is a grander achievement that victory in 1945) than it does about anything else.

The second reason to mark today is that it is the Feastday of St Andrew. Amongst other names the Saint gives his name to a windy town on the northern coast of Fife in Scotland, home of the university of the same name, and a certain well-known golf course. What dominates the town there are the ruins of the Cathedral (decent pictures here, and a particualrly good one here) at the eastern end. At the time it was the largest in Scotland, and like many such buildings fell foul of the Reformation. Today its ruined shell is fittingly also used as a cemetery. What better place to rest?

Perhaps it is worthwhile to note that January 24th next year is the 40th anniversary of the death of Winston too. Given that year is also the bicentenial of Trafalgar and the Death of Lord Nelson, it all seems fitting.

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