August catch-up: architecture, suitcases and ‘pathetic figures’

Our political columnist rounds up things of interest that you may have missed

Share

1. Here is the house where Sir Basil Spence lived, in Islington, north London. The blue plaque is his. He is the chap who gave us the old Home Office building in Petty France, Kensington Town Hall and Hutchesontown C, the Gorbals, Glasgow, and who is therefore a leading nominee for the Dead Prize for design awfulness, about which I wrote yesterday. Thanks to Ken Wing for the information and the photo.

2. The funniest article about architecture that you are likely to read this week is this, Great Mistakes in English Medieval Architecture, by James Alexander Cameron. Thanks to Ian Leslie.

3. Two good articles on British anti-Semitism yesterday, from David Aaronovitch in the Jewish Chronicle ("Jewish lobby? Great idea, when does it start?") and Danny Finkelstein in The Times (pay wall). They both mention the "suitcase" but they both dismiss it. Here is Finkelstein's conclusion:

"This is a great country to live in and in many ways it is getting better. After all, Sainsbury’s in Holborn even has a kosher food counter that it can close down. Yet most of us Jews, wherever we are in the world, have a niggling feeling that perhaps it might be a good idea to keep a suitcase packed, and many of us have had, at least once, a conversation about where we would go if we had to.

"I don’t have such a suitcase. I won’t need it, I know I won’t. But If I told you that I didn’t understand it, I’d be lying."

4. And two good articles on British jihadis. Shiraz Maher in the Daily Mail on how one person goes to Syria or Iraq and then persuades friends back home to join them.

And Mehdi Hasan in Huffington Post says that jihadis are disturbed young men for whom a perverted and politicised form of Islam acts as an "emotional vehicle". He argues that jihadism should not be seen as an extreme or ultra-devout form of Islam. He quotes Chris Morris, "Terrorism is about ideology, but it's also about berks," and comments:

"Berks, not martyrs. 'Pathetic figures', to quote the former MI6 chief Richard Dearlove, not holy warriors. If we want to tackle jihadism, we need to stop exaggerating the threat these young men pose and giving them the oxygen of publicity they crave, and start highlighting how so many of them lead decidedly un-Islamic lives."

5. Another fine question answered by What If? "If I shot an infinitely strong laser beam into the sky at a random point, how much damage would it do?" Part of the answer was that it might settle an old argument:

 

________

6. This has been knocking around Twitter for six months now, but has only just swum across my timeline. From Ben (@0point5twins):

"Describe yourself in three words."

"Lazy."

Previously, on the Catch-Up Service

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Employment Solicitor

£30000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent: Austen Lloyd: Employment Solicitor - Ke...

Argyll Scott International: Risk Assurance Manager

Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: Hi All, I'm currently recruiting for t...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...

Ashdown Group: IT Systems Analyst / Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

£23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Bill Cosby speaks onstage at the Thurgood Marshall College Fund 25th Awards Gala on 11 November 2013 in Washington  

Bill Cosby: Isn’t it obvious why his accusers have stayed silent up until now?

Grace Dent
 

Our political landscape is not changing anywhere near as much as we assume it is

Steve Richards
In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible