Sunday, 6 February 2011
Five days in London
I am reading Five Days in London May 1940 by John Lukacs. It is an hour-by-hour account of critical events when the fine balance in Churchill's war cabinet tipped in favour of the course of fighting on, in the face of the French and Belgian capitulation to Hitler, and the mass evacuation of the British army from the beach at Dunkirk. It would make a good film or play. Back from my own few days in London, I see a mountain of books and paperwork on my table. One task that awaits is a critique, at the editor's request, addressing instances of cultural (and scientific) relativism in some articles in the current issue of the journal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, The idea that all systems of thought designed to explain and predict the world are of equal power and validity seems to me not just wrong but dangerous. Should opinion-formers be required to spell out where they are coming from, in general terms?