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Old age and death


Avoid exaggerated pronouncements
Anthony Howard Writer
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I think my main conclusion is that everything is exaggerated. That when 9/11 took place, all those announcements, the world is never going to be the same again. Nuts. You know, I'm sorry, it was a horrible tragedy and all that, but the world is the same. And there always is a tendency, particularly on the part of evangelical politicians like Tony Blair, to say everything has now changed, everything is different. It's not. Life goes on. And so I think we have to beware of, sort of, melodramatic pronouncements. And I mean, I suppose you would say the atom bomb… well, everyone did say it changed the world. I'm not sure it did. Two atom bombs were dropped in 1945. What's happened since? It's been a kind of equivalence of terror, I suppose, of fear, but the world was not transformed. And I think I shall always be wary of those who change, you know, the end of history, this kind of thing. It's not how things work out.

So I think, on the whole, I'm saying, you know, avoid exaggerated pronouncements and accept that life goes on and it will go on until such time, no doubt, as we blow each other up, but that looks to me more remote now than it looked, say, 40 years ago at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

A distinguished British political observer, Anthony Howard (1934-2010) wrote for 'The Guardian', 'The Sunday Times' and 'The Observer' for over 40 years, during which time he has commented on the historical significance of global political issues. He was also editor of 'The Listener' and 'The New Statesman', and a reporter on both 'Newsnight' and 'Panorama'. He was awarded the CBE in 1997.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is a London-based television producer and director who has made a number of documentary films for BBC TV, Channel 4 and PBS.

Tags: Cuban Missile Crisis, Anthony Charles Lynton Blair

Duration: 1 minute, 21 seconds

Date story recorded: November - December 2008

Date story went live: 21 May 2018