Lynne herself features in Morley's article, having tried without success to interest the authorities in the case, but I was struck by a very minor point in the article.
Morley says of Joyce Carol Vincent:
She was born in 1965, the year the Post Office Tower opened, which Tony Benn later referred to as a symbol of our age – an age in which we worship the internet, television, mobile phones.But Tony Benn did not say this "later" at all. He said it at the time. Because in 1965 he was Postmaster General and one of the bigwigs at the tower's opening.
A Guardian article by Nigel Fountain from 2000 describes his attitude that day:
While Big Ben had represented "the fussy grandeur of the Gothic revival that epitomised the Victorian imperial affluence, built on the foundation of the first industrial revolution", as the postmaster-general, a Mr Anthony Wedgwood Benn, had pithily proclaimed at the opening, "the Post Office tower, lean, practical and futuristic, symbolises the technical and architectural skill of this new age."
Good old new ages, where would we be without them? At the time, Tony Benn - as he became when he, too, opted to be lean, practical and futuristic - reckoned a new definition of a Cockney would be someone born within sight of the tower.You can even see footage of him that day on the British Pathe site. (My current internet connection cannot cope with it, so I have not seen this newsreel myself.)
Shortly afterwards Anthony Wedgwood Benn became even more lean, practical and futuristic and took charge of the Ministry of Technology - or Mintech, as he liked to call it. The days when Tony Benn (as he was later to become) would present himself as a sage who laughed at the follies of our technological age were then far ahead of him.
But then Carol Morley is not the first person to be taken in by accepting Benn at his own estimation. In a House Points column a couple of years ago I recalled his role in the banning of pirate radio and then asked:
Do the sweet young things who hang upon his words about global warming know that when a minister in the 1970s he forced through the construction of the coal-burning Drax power station?People can get upset when you point out historical ironies of this sort, but I am with Cicero: "To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child."