Daily catch-up: We Are Not Syriza; and the riddle of an imitation Sphinx in China

A round-up of politics and quirk from around the internet

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The Independent Online

1. High speed train passing the Sphinx in Chuzhou, Anhui, China. Via China Street Talk and Dexter Roberts.

2. Chuka Umunna is usually interesting. Which is quite unusual among the current Labour front bench. His interview with Politics Home yesterday was hardly a significant political intervention, but he is quite refreshing. Take his answer to a question about Syriza in Greece, for example:

“My global outlook is different to theirs because I do believe that markets and business are a force for good. And that ultimately the best way that we can close the equality gap and lift people out of poverty is by government working in partnership with business. God knows, in China – and I’m certainly not advocating a Chinese system – but their embrace of markets and reform has lifted millions of people out of poverty.”

A Labour politician prepared to dissent from the idiot leftism of We Are Syriza politics and to praise markets? Whatever next?

3. Here is some eighth-dan pedantry, arising from Guy Keleny’s Errors & Omissions column of last week. He said that Martha Lane Fox had no hyphen, but that, as Baroness Lane-Fox, she is hyphenated. This is because peers are not allowed double names in their titles unless they are hyphenated.

But Nicholas Randall, a reporter on the House of Lords for the Press Association, points out that there is one exception: Baroness Heyhoe Flint.

“Garter [Principal King of Arms] said he’d relaxed the rules. But by the time of Baroness Lane-Fox he told me he had decided he had been been wrong to do so. He said he wasn't going to be as ‘doctrinaire’ as his predecessor, but was then told by the Crown Office on the two-name issue he should be.”

So now you know.

4. I have a comment in The Independent today about Tony Blair’s superhuman loyalty to his successors as leaders of the Labour Party. And a footnote about someone: can you identify this person? He was the youngest MP 1967-69, a minister in the 1974-79 Labour government, a founder of the Campaign Group, who went on the “chicken run” from his seat which he feared would fall to the Conservatives in 1983 (it did) and who tried and failed to win selection for a safe Labour seat in the north.

5. May I praise Iain Martin for holding himself to account for predicting coalition would break up by the end of 2013? We political forecasters ought to do more of this, but in my case I might just wait until after the election.

6. And finally, thanks to Chris Heaton-Harris for this:

“The hardest English test I had whilst at school asked for a list synonyms of the word ‘incorrect’. I literally had to write every wrong.”

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