May 6th, 2005

As Predicted

The exit polls were spookily accurate. At 11.00 last night, with one result in, the experts were predicting a Labour majority of 66. This morning, with only a few results still undeclared, they are making exactly the same prediction.

No surprises then. The Tories made small gains, the Lib Dems made small gains, a few relatively minor government figures were unseated. The most exciting individual result was in Bethnal Green and Bow, where the charismatic George Galloway, who was kicked out of the Labour party over Iraq, defeated the New Labour incumbent.

So Labour gets its third term- which has never happened before- and Blair has had his majority cut by nearly 100. It's exactly what I hoped for.


BBC 4 treated us to extracts from the Goebbels diaries last night (splendidly read by Kenneth Branagh.) "Goering went out of his way to be kind to me. What a nice chap he is." This isn't so much the banality of evil as the Pooterishness of evil.

Venice is Goebbels' favourite city. He is shocked at the number of Jews in Berlin; they do so spoil the look of the place. He wanders out into the countryside during the siege of Berlin and finds it restful. Nothing that goes wrong is ever his fault. Hitler is above criticism.

Is this all there was to the man? Was he really so utterly without ideas, imagination, culture?

"Evil genius" is a contradiction in terms. The really wicked are never much more than crafty. Goebbels was a silly little man without the wherewithal to grasp the enormity of what he was doing.

A typical politician, in fact.