Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Truth, what is truth?

There’s another letter of mine to be read in the Guardian today. It’s a comment on David Clark‘s piece on Saturday and attempts to counter his rewriting of history.

His piece occupied the place which usually carries Martin Kettle’s Saturday thoughts which are usually scrupulously accurate and fair. So I was surprised to read distortions and half-truths in it this week. I hadn’t noticed the change of author; perhaps Mr Kettle is on holiday as, it seems, are British politics and political blogging.

It’s odd that Tony Blair’s most noisy opponents such as Mr Clark seem to think he possess almost magical powers to control the world and its leaders. Perhaps they read too many James Bond books when they were young. Only they and a few sad old jingoistic saloon-bar buffers seem to imagine that Britain still commands huge influence.

Pontius Pilate is rumoured to have said “truth what is truth” when questioning Jesus, although some translations change the second ‘truth’ to ‘that’. But, as it was probably said in Latin but recorded many years ago in Hebrew or Greek and then translated a few more times until it got into the book of Bible stories used at my Sunday School, it's hard to be certain. When I was Very Young I thought Pontius was an adjective to distinguish the bloke from other Pilates, which I took to be a job title. But I didn’t know what Pontius meant; important but a little pompous perhaps. It’s a wonderful name.......

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