David Edmonds

Uses and Abuses of the Holocaust

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At my advanced age, I can perhaps be forgiven for getting irritated by many things in life.  But few exasperate me more than an argument or claim that draws a risible parallel to the Nazi era and/or the Holocaust.      Continue reading

Shopping on Drugs

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I noticed recently that I have an entirely irrational shopping habit.  I wanted to buy a packet of crisps, but when I went to pick up my favourite make, it was on special offer.  Buy two, get one free.  Well, I’m not stupid: I wasn’t going to fall for that old trick.  I didn’t want two packets (let alone three).  But the offer made me think that if I just bought the one packet, I would be paying over the odds – since purchasing a second packet would lower the average cost of each crisp by a third.  So, because there was a special offer on two, I didn’t buy one.   Continue reading

Burma, Myanmar and the Myth of Objectivity

by David Edmonds – twitter @DavidEdmonds100

Since my last blog post, there has been a decision within the BBC “to start to move” to calling ‘Burma, ‘Myanmar’.

Burma has always been an interest of mine because it was the big story in the first few weeks when I began in journalism.  Aung San Suu Kyi’s husband (now deceased) lived in Oxford and when the demonstrations broke out in Burma in September 1988 I would deliver news wires to him: in those pre-internet days he had virtually no other means of finding out what was going on. Continue reading

Can Facts Be Racist?

Here is the sequence of events.  1. Richard Dawkins tweets that all the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College Cambridge.  2. Cue a twitter onslaught – accusing Professor Dawkins of racism.  3. Richard Dawkins writes that a fact can’t be racist. Continue reading

I’m Too Unsexy For My Shirt

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Thinking only of your career prospects now, is it better to be sexy or unsexy?  This person was said to be too sexy and lost her job.   But at Abercrombie & Fitch the allegation is that you can’t get a job unless you’re good looking.  The A&F image of glamour has helped the company make enormous profits:  I once bought a T-Shirt for a godless child at an A&F store, to pay for which I had to sell my wardrobe. Continue reading

Are You A Fox or A Hedgehog?

by David Edmonds

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Are you a Fox or a Hedgehog?  In practical ethics, far better to be a hedgehog.

Isaiah Berlin drew a famous distinction when discussing great writers and thinkers of the past.  The hedgehog knew one big thing.  The fox knew many things.  Continue reading


Is it a White Man’s Court?  I went to a talk recently in which the International Criminal Court, the ICC, was accused of racial bias.  The evidence seems pretty damning.  Virtually no non-African has been targeted by the Court.  Yet nobody believes Africa is the only continent in the world to experience grave war crimes.  The Chairman of the African Union, the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, recently made a similar claim:  he talked of the ICC “hunting” Africans.  Continue reading

Lady Thatcher is Dead – and some people celebrate

Margaret Thatcher has died.  A few people have declared that this is grounds for celebration.  ‘A great day’, they have announced.  Pop open the champagne. Continue reading

What’s Wrong With Believing In Nothing?

I was having a friendly discussion/argument the other day:  it had something to do with my militant, Dawkins-esque atheism, and my disparagement of some sorts of religious ritual.  “At least I believe in something”, said my sparring partner.   Continue reading

Well, he did make the trains run on time


Well, they say of Mussolini, at least he made the trains run on time.

Actually, that’s disputed, but that’s by-the-by.  While watching the telly, I was struck by a remark of Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, on the resignation of the leader of Scotland’s Roman Catholic community, Cardinal Keith O’Brien following allegation of sexual misconduct.  “It would be a great pity if a lifetime of positive work was lost from comment in the circumstances of his resignation”, said Salmond. Continue reading