All men are equal until beaten fairly with a googly

It is a matter of record that Britain has never gone to war against a country that plays cricket

IN THE wake of the death of the late lamented Alan Clark MP, I have received many letters of tribute to him, and think it only right to print a selection of them.

From Mr George "Gubby" Trotter OBE

Sir, in all the richly deserved tributes which have poured out to my old friend Alan Clark MP, I have seen none that mentioned his very real love of cricket. He once said to me, "You know, Gubby, my father may have had a title, taste, money and a huge house, but he had very little else. If you look again at his TV series on Civilisation, you will notice that he talks only about expensive objects - his view of life was the view from Asprey's window. He avoided the finer things of life altogether. Nowhere in the series, for instance, is cricket or sex mentioned. But are they not the twin pillars of civilisation?"

I am sure he was right, whatever he meant by it.

yours etc

From Lord Nearbough

Sir, Alan Clark is often said to have been a snob, but there was more to him than that. I remember once he said to me, "You know, Diddles, on the cricket field all men are equal, at least until given out. You may be surprised to learn that in many ways I had a most underprivileged background. Whereas other children learn cricket from their dads, I was taught to bowl and bat by the butler and head stableman. Until the age of fourteen I thought umpires called everyone `Sir'. Think about it, Diddles."

I have often thought about it, and I now wish I had asked him what on earth he meant by it.

yours etc

From Sir Ralph Kneedle

Sir, May I endorse the foregoing? I remember once fielding in the slips beside him for the Civilisation Casuals (the cricket team which his father Lord Clark started on the proceeds of his TV series). During a lull in play I asked him if, as a historian, he had considered writing a history of cricket.

"In a sense, I already have," he said. "Writing a history of the Great War was very like writing a history of cricket. Trench warfare is like a long series of drawn five-day Test matches laid end to end. The only difference, I suppose, was that in the First World War rain never stopped play. Know what I mean, Kneedle?"

I said I did, but looking back I don't think I really had a clue what he was on about.

yours etc

From Mr Arthur Trimble

I can vouch for everything Sir Ralph says. I worked for 20 years on Lord Clark's estate, dividing my time between the greenhouses and wicket-keeping, so I saw a lot of young Master Alan in the slips. One day, he said: "Do you remember the famous Christmas Day on which the British and German troops stopped fighting for a day and played football? Has it ever occurred to you that there is no record of the British and Germans ever having an impromptu cricket match?"

I had to confess that it hadn't.

"Do you know why?"

I did not.

"Because the Germans don't play cricket, you Dummkopf!"

He cuffed me amiably and then said, more seriously: "Though it is a matter of record that Britain has never gone to war against a country that plays cricket. You could easily shoot a man who had once tackled you from behind, but you could never shoot at a man who had beaten you fairly and squarely with a googly. Think about it."

I have, often, and still wonder what he was on about.

yours etc

From Julian Whitewell

Sir, I helped to edit the late Alan Clark's diaries for publication, and I well remember him coming in one day and insisting on adding an entry. It read as follows:

"Last night I dreamt that I was playing cricket, and Margaret Thatcher was wicket-keeping for our side, wearing pads, gloves and nothing else. It was one of the most exciting games of cricket I have ever known, and her too, did she but know it..."

"Did you really dream this?" I asked.

"No, of course not," he said. "But I thought if she ever read the book, it might give the old bat a bit of a stir."

yours etc

Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat

Arts and Entertainment
A sketch of Van Gogh has been discovered in the archives of Kunsthalle Bremen in Germany
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
Arts and Entertainment
Fake Banksy stencil given to artist Alex Jakob-Whitworth

art

Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is heading to Norwich for Radio 1's Big Weekend

music
Arts and Entertainment
Beer as folk: Vincent Franklin and Cyril Nri (centre) in ‘Cucumber’
tvReview: This slice of gay life in Manchester has universal appeal
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
‘A Day at the Races’ still stands up well today
film
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tvAnd its producers have already announced a second season...
Arts and Entertainment
Kraftwerk performing at the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) museum in Berlin earlier this month
musicWhy a bunch of academics consider German electropoppers Kraftwerk worthy of their own symposium
Arts and Entertainment
Icelandic singer Bjork has been forced to release her album early after an online leak

music
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth as Harry Hart in Kingsman: The Secret Service

film
Arts and Entertainment
Brian Blessed as King Lear in the Guildford Shakespeare Company's performance of the play

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
In the picture: Anthony LaPaglia and Martin Freeman in 'The Eichmann Show'

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Kirkbride and Bill Roache as Deirdre and Ken Barlow in Coronation Street

tvThe actress has died aged 60
Arts and Entertainment
Marianne Jean-Baptiste defends Joe Miller in Broadchurch series two

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The frill of it all: Hattie Morahan in 'The Changeling'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny may reunite for The X Files

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
TV
News
A young woman punched a police officer after attending a gig by US rapper Snoop Dogg
people
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
    Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

    The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

    Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
    Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

    A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
    How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

    How books can defeat Isis

    Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
    The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

    The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

    The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
    Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

    Young carers to make dance debut

    What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
    Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

    Design Council's 70th anniversary

    Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
    Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

    Dame Harriet Walter interview

    The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

    Bill Granger's winter salads

    Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
    England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

    George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

    No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links