Yesterday the British press was full of Mary Beard’s victory, with the Romans, over Boris Johnson’s advocacy of the Greeks in a debate at Central Hall Westminster, also screened on Curzon TV.
Since I beat the admirable Professor Beard hands down in a similar debate at the Cheltenham Festival eight years ago, I can only infer two things from this dismal showing on BoJo’s part: 1) I should be made Mayor of London immediately, and 2) Beard clearly learned how to win this kind of debate (i.e. by NOT using notes and by making people laugh) from me. I am also outraged that the Greeks have been left so poorly defended.
The audio of the Beard/Hall debate has disappeared mysteriously from the internet, where it was until recently freely available. If anyone knows where I can access a copy to link to from my website I would be grateful. Meanwhile, since I am stricken with flu and feel too ill to think, my blog this week reproduces that written in October 2007 by our chairman at Cheltenham, Peter Stothard, editor of the Times Literary Supplement, who gave as far as I can recall a fair and accurate account of proceedings. And as for you, Comrade Johnson—next time, give me a ring and I’ll tell you why the Greeks REALLY matter.