Monday 31 March 2014

Britain in climate change will be no country for more and more old men who will die in the heat

In her article for the Guardian today reporting on the latest UN Report on climate change, Suzanne Goldenburg US Environment Correspondent said :
Picture of Suzanne Goldenberg'Pensioners left on their own during a heatwave in industrialised countries. single mothers in rural areas. workers who spend most of their days outdoors. slum dwellers in the megacities of the developing world. These are some of the vulnerable groups who will feel the brunt of climate change as its effects become more pronounced in the coming decades.'

Suzanne quoted directly from the Report :
'People who are socially, economically, culturally, politically, institutionally or otherwise marginalised are especially vulnerable to climate change.'

Marginalised and left on their own, many old men and women living in Britain certainly fulfil these criteria. In a post during the heatwave last July entitled : Britain is no country for hot old men in a heatwave, I quoted Professor Ben Armstrong, an epidemiological statistician at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who said:

“Our previous studies have shown that as temperatures rise above a certain threshold, the risk of death increases. Using the same model, we estimate that the current heatwave has caused the premature deaths of 650 people. The excess is likely to have been overwhelmingly among the elderly, especially those over 75, some of which may have been among people who would have died just a few weeks later if there had been no heatwave.”

It is certain that old men and women will die in the heat in Britain in larger and larger numbers, the more so now that Government financial cuts dictate that 250,000 of them are no longer receiving  care and support in their own homes :

Question : Why will an excessive numbe of old men die in increasingly frequent heatwaves in Britain ?

Answer : Because they :
* won't drink enough to keep their bodies hydrated.
World Meterological Organization (WMO) secretary general Michel Jarraud gestures during a press conference as he releasea his agency's annual climate report on March 24, 2014 in Geneva. Disasters in 2013 including Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and drought in Australia are consistent with the human role in climate change, the head of the UN's weather agency said. (AFP / FABRICE COFFRINI)* will close the widows to protect themselves from burglars.
* with air conditioning, will get cold and then turn up the thermostat to get warm.

Michael Jarraud, Secretary-General of the World Meterological Organization, gestured during a press conference as he released the climate change report in Geneva.
For the world and the old men within it, 2013 was the sixth-warmest year on record. Thirteen of the 14 warmest years have occurred in the 21st century.

Sunday 30 March 2014

Britain is no longer a country for and said "Goodbye" to an old left-wing political cartoonist and champion of the rights of working men called Phil Evans

Phil, who has died aged 68, produced a prolific, funny, concise and uncompromising body of work on the side of the exploited and the oppressed in Britain of the 1970s and 80s. He worked mostly for the Socialist Workers Party, but his skills were recognised by the wider labour movement. His passing, however, has attracted much less attention than that of the left-wingers, politician,Tony Benn and union leader, Bob Crow. This was probably because for the last twenty years of his life he had not really been engaged with the Political Left and had slipped out of view so much so that my search for Phil has produced not a single image of him, hence the silhouette.

What you possibly didn't know about Phil, that he :

* was born in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire a year after the end of the Second World War, the son of an art teacher mother and Professor of English Literature father, whose career took the family to London, Goldsmith's College, Uganda, Makerere College, then to Aberdeen  in 1955 when Phil was 9 years old.

* became politicised in his teens when he joined Aberdeen's 'Youth Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament' and Labour Party's 'Young Socialists' and educated at its Grammar School (right), where Robin Cook, the future Foreign Secretary in the Tony Blair Labour Government in the late 1990s was his age and in his year.

* left at school at the age of 16 in 1963, attended Sunderland Art College, then spent three years studying graphic art at Leeds College of Art
and at some point developed a love of  the work of 18th century artist Hogarth (left) and German Dadaist George Grotz who worked in the 20th century.

*  drew his first political cartoons in opposition to the American War in Vietnam and the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia when he was 22 in 1968 and produced the magazine of the 'Vietnam Solidarity Campaign' in 1967-68.

* later wrote : 'When I was younger I wanted to be an oil painter, a portraitist.  More recently I realised that to be a cartoonist is just as difficult - more difficult perhaps - because you have to get your hands dirty in the political fight.  I have always been interested in propaganda - I've always felt that if you're good at something then why not try to make a point with it?  A little pamphlet, with cartoons, on the struggle of a tiny group of ordinary seamen against their right-wing union leaders, or textile workers against a sweatshop employer, is more important than the cracks on the face of an important diplomat or princess.'

* in the 1970s produced a weekly strip, 'Our Norman', featuring the adventures of a young factory hand learning his politics on the shop floor who probably left school at 15 and worked as a metalworker but was part of rebellious wave of younger workers full of untapped potential.

* made it clear that young though he was Norman was  old enough to be haunted by the question of what the future holds: Is a busted clock the best he can look forward to ?  

* in 1982, had a collection of his drawings, 'The Joke Works', published with an introduction by the socialist writer David Widgery (left) with its invitation for readers to use and reuse his cartoons in their workplace and a cartoon on the back cover entitled 'How to Use This Book' with cut-out and reproduction instructions and like much of his work, deliberately unprotected by copyright, they were used over and over in trade union bulletins, leaflets and magazines.

* by the early 1980s, was uncomfortable with the political direction of the Socialist Workers Party and found work as a subeditor in magazines and collaborated with Tariq Ali to produce 'Trotsky for Beginners ', followed by 'Marx's Kapital for Beginners' with David Smith  in 1982 and 'Ireland for Beginners' with the Irish actor Eileen Pollock (left) in 1983.

* lived in Spain for a short time, then returned to Britain and in 1989 contributed to a book on a subject as near to his heart as socialism : 'Best Pubs in London: A Camra Guide' 1989, having once vowed that "after the revolution" he would devote himself to drinking, arguing and playing pool.

* in the 1990s produced a fortnightly strip for the leftwing Labour paper, 'Tribune' and was frequently commissioned by the Labour Research Department, an independent body sponsored by unions and co-ops and provided trade union publications and the 'Radio Times Letters Page' with humour.

*  had moved to Hastings to be nearer his mother, whose death in 2000 was a profound blow and in the same year that his marriage came to an end and suffered additional grief with the premature death of his daughter, Esmé, in 2008 and did only occasional work after that.

* was appreciated by Kent Worcester in the 'Comics Journal' in 2009-10 :

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Britain is still a country for and says "Happy Birthday" to an old painter engaver who 'needed to understand the land he was born in', called Norman Ackroyd

PortraitNorman, who is one of Britain's most celebrated landscape artists is 76 years old today.
What you possibly didn't know about Norman, that he :

*  was born just before the outbreak of the Second World War in 1938 in Leeds, Yorkshire, where as a child, he later said he "was absolutely fascinated by maps as a child, to the point where I would almost imagine lying down and living in them" and where his love of landscape was nurtured by long bicycle rides in the Yorkshire Dales.

* had a father who was a butcher, not confident that art could be a sustaining career for his son and about whom Norman the successful artist said : "You do get that feeling with the architecture of the land, those massive slips and splits, say Muckle Roe on Shetland, for example - there are chasms that look like they were split with a butcher's cleaver."

* after leaving school, studied at Leeds College of Art followed by the Royal College of Art in London under Julian Tevelyan, which at first was a culture shock at a time of 'Pop Art' and the Swinging sixties, where in nearby studios David Hockney was painting boxes of Typhoo Tea and where he realised that he was as good and possibly better than his flashier peers.
* joined his contemporaries in New York in the early '70s, but couldn't settle and after several years returned to Britain later saying : "It was homesickness, but not a banal form. It was the feeling that I really needed to understand the land I was born in, to be back standing on my own muck. There's that fantastic Yeats line 'He that sings a lasting song, thinks in a marrow-bone'. I needed to have a more than superficial understanding."

Norman Ackroyd, Sula Sgeir. Etching, 2011* after his return, travelled to Orkney at the extreme northern point of the British Isles and began a project that saw him chart over 500 viewpoints of their most outlying areas described as : "This little group of islands sitting off the edge of Europe, which sits on the end of Asia and then you've got 3000 miles of ocean until you come to the Americas. So it really is the edge of everything."

* in the 1980s, in his forties, set up his studio in a former leather warehouse in Bermondsey, London, where he installed a large 1900-built printing press on the ground floor dates which he described as : "probably the best etching press in Europe and it’s an absolute delight to be able to work with it" on which he produced his landscape prints ranging from the small  intended to be bound into books to huge etchings.

* has a few lines of Milton on the studio staircase and said : "I have a huge poetry library upstairs and I know and work with a lot of poets. People like Seamus Heaney, Douglas Dunn, Bernard O'Donoghue. I've done poetry readings at the Bodleian Library in Oxford too."

* has said of the map on the wall that : "The pins in this map represent places I've been to and produced work. The big pins are where I've done full sets – places like St Kilda, Shetland, and Orkney. What interests me is when people have lived there. I like those traces of habitation."

* was appointed Professor of Etching at the University of the Arts, at the age of 56 in 1994, elected Senior Fellow of the Royal College of Art at 62 and in 2007 was made CBE for 'Services to Engraving and Printing'.after having achieved an international reputation with works hanging as far apart as The Tate in London, New York’s MoMA and the British Embassy in Moscow.
* has said his preferred medium for working directly on paper is watercolour as illustrated in a recent project pairing them with poems by Kevin Crossley-Holland published under the title 'Moored Man.'

* for the Sainsbury commission at its laboratory at Cambridge University to celebrate the centenary of Darwin's death, travelled to the Galapagos Islands to research the diversity of fauna, flora, landscapes, returned with over 20 sketch books and began work on a frieze of forty etched metal plates.

 * featured on tv documentaries in 1980 and 2006 and last year in 'What Do Artists Do All Day?' :


Monday 24 March 2014

Britain in 2115 : Unlikely to be a country for a very large number of very old men

Just before the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, there were only 100 centenarians in the whole of Britain. When King George V sent out the first congratulatory telegrams to centenarians in 1917, there were only 24. Now Buckingham Palace is sending out around 10,000 laser-printed royal 100th birthday cards a year.

The latest Office for National Statistics report reveals that in 2012 more than half a million people were over 90 years old and of these over 150,000 were old men. At the same time 13,350 of the half a million had received their telegram from Queen Elizabeth II.
The Report predicts that that 35% of the 826,000 babies born in 2012 will live to become centenarians and, if Britain still has a monarchy in 2114, receive their congratulations from the throne.

surviving to 100

Stand aside for a moment from very old people receiving congratulation from the Monarch on becoming centenarians and consider that Britain, in 2014 is a country where large numbers of old people are sent to the margins. Crippled by social isolation and loneliness and facing difficulties created by cuts in the welfare budget, many of them do not 'enjoy' but rather 'endure' a long and not 'happy', but 'unhappy' retirement. Is it likely that, in the Britain of 2114, centenarians will live better lives than large numbers of their predecessors lead today ?

Janet Morrison, of the charity, 'Independent Age', said:
‘The stunning 73% increase in the number of centenarians is a massive cause for celebration. It is particularly good news for older men,  there are far more men aged 90 or over than ten years ago and women over 90 now outnumber men by just 2.5 to 1, compared to 3.3 to 1 ten years ago. These trends are expected to continue, yet we are woefully under-prepared to meet the challenges and indeed seize the opportunities presented by population ageing.Urgent action is needed in health and social care, in work, in lifestyles and in our attitudes if we are to adjust to an ageing society.’

David Sinclair, Head of Policy and Research at the International Longevity Centre UK, warned that :
" Now that we are getting so much better at keeping people alive...we will be older, but in worse health, and at high risk of living alone in unsuitable accommodation. The other problem is that we are very poor at forward planning, as politicians and individuals. We deal with the problems that are under our noses, but even problems two or three years away seem quite distant enough to put off. When you're talking about forecasts for a time half a century away and more, I see no evidence that we are putting in place the measures to deal with it."
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said:
"Nearly one in five people in our country will live to see their 100th birthday. The increase demonstrates the true worth of advances in medicine and the increasing effectiveness of preventative treatments." However, despite the ageing population there was a "real crisis in care" as the number of older people receiving social care support had fallen by "more than a quarter since 2005". "It is time for politicians in all parties to act to make sure services can meet the needs of an ageing population."

Britain in 2014 : "Unlikely Caroline. Most unlikely."

Saturday 22 March 2014

Britain is no longer a country for and says "Goodbye" to an old cinematographer who made stars shine called Ossie Morris

Oswald, the Oscar-winning British cinematographer of 58 films and some of the best scenes ever created for the movies and ensured the camera only caught Hollywood stars such as Stuart Grainger and Elizabeth Taylor at their best, has died aged 98.

What you possibly didn't know about Ossie, that he :

* was born half way through the First World War in Hillingdon, West London, in 1915, where his father, a newsagent, would make one-minute films with him and his brother in their garden in Ruislip near the outside loo and under the name of 'Bogside Productions'.

* went to Uxbridge County School and a dedicated film fan in the 1920s, worked as a cinema projectionist during school holidays, then after leaving school at the
age of 16, successively as an unpaid apprentice, a 'clapper boy' at £2 a week and by his twenties in the late 1930s, a camera operator, first at Wembley Studios and later Elstree.

was conscripted into the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, flew Lancaster bombers on raids over France and Germany, won the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1943 then transferred to Transport Command and in 1945 flew Field Marshal Alanbrooke, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, on a world tour which included Yalta for the second  Conference with Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin, for which he was awarded the Air Force Cross to go with his DFC.

Oswald Morris* resumed his career in the film industry as a camera operator and worked with top flight directors of photography Wilkie Cooper and Guy Green in the late 1940s on 'Green for Danger', 'Blanche Fury' and 'Oliver Twist'.  where when given the task of creating a point-of-view shot of Oliver being punched in the face said : " the only way I could think of to achieve this was to use a pram. I couldn’t run with the camera as it would be too unsteady. So I climbed in, and David Lean gave me a push. The punch went right into the lens.”

* was promoted to lighting cameraman by cameraman-turned-director, Ronald Neame and worked on 'The Golden Salamander' at the age of 34 in 1949, followed by the love story, 'So Little Time' and the Alec Guinness vehicle, 'The Card'. 

* in 1952 at the age of 37 was invited to meet John Huston in Claridges and recalled he said "'come in, sit down kid, sit down kid' and   one thing he asked me, which absolutely flummoxed me - he said 'do you know anything about the Toulouse-Lautrec paintings?' and so began the first of 8 collaborations on 'Moulin Rouge', using filters to create the muted, soft tones to fufil his request to make it look "as if Toulouse-Lautrec had directed it" which brought them into dispute with the Technicolor film lab, which said his material was 'faulty'.

gained an award form the British Society of Cinematographers for 'Best Cinematography' and later said : “This unique use of colour was the best thing about the film. It was the first picture that succeeded in dominating the colour instead of being dominated by it.”

* in 1954, worked with French director and screenwriter René Clément on his black comedy, 'Knave of Hearts' and learnt much from his spontaneous, location-led and documentary style photography.

* was reunited with Huston in 1954 on 'Beat the Devil'  and two years later embarked on an ambitious colour experiment with 'Moby Dick', seeking to reproduce whaling prints of the period by using the effect of desaturation and special printing to give an etched feel to the colour.

* at the age of 41 accompanied Huston on location for 'Heaven Knows, Mr Allison'followed by 'Roots of Heaven'
shot in CinemaScope and in the late 1950s worked with Tony Richardson in 'Look Back in Anger''The Entertainer', 'Reed for The Key' and 'Our Man in Havana' and less happily, with Kubrick on 'Lolita' in 1962.

* in the mid-sixties reached a peak in his monochrome work with three successes, which won him Bafta awards for 'Best British Cinematography' with
- 'The Pumpkin Eater' for Jack Clayton with his grainy, claustrophobic feeling to match the intense drama.
- 'The Spy Who Came in from the Cold' for Martin Ritt with his cleverly lit locations and dramatic interiors reflecting the sombre events.
- 'The Hill' for Sydney Lumet with his rugged documentary tone with an emphasis on heat and unremitting glare contributing to the tough performances set in a North African punishment camp for British soldiers.

* was called to Italy by Huston to complete 'Reflections in a Golden Eye' in 1967 to provide a desaturated effect and a golden hazy glow to heighten the story of heated passions and betrayal and also worked in Italy for Zeffirelli's exuberant 'Taming of the Shrew' with a photographic style inspired by Italian Renaissance art.

 * ended the 60s with three lavish musicals, 'Oliver!'  for Reed, 'Goodbye Mr Chips'  for  Herbert Ross and 'Scrooge' for Neame capped by 'Fiddler on the Roof' for Norman Jewison in 1971 with an unfussy style to reflect the simple humanity of the characters through the changing seasons and a silk stocking over the lens to give a sepia effect.which won him an Oscar for 'Best Cinematography' and later recalled that the director had "pushed me to my limit, and I need to be pushed when I'm working".

* was busy in the 70s with 'The Man Who Would Be King'  for Huston, 'The Odessa File', 
'Equus' and 'The Wiz',  the Wizard of Oz musical starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson for Lumet as well as the Bond film, 'The Man with the Golden Gun', for Guy Hamilton in 1974.

* finished his career with two collaborations with Jim Henson's Puppet Workshop's, 'The Great Muppet Caper' saying that "I think of Kermit (the frog) as my leading man and Miss Piggy as my leading lady...So I lit Miss Piggy as if she was Greta Garbo or Sophia Loren" and his final feature as a cinematographer, the fantasy 'Dark Crystal' at the age of 66 in 1982.

* in 2000 was awarded the American Society of Cinematographers' 'International Achievement Award' when its President, Victor Kemper said : "Ossie Morris is a true artist who has compiled a remarkably diverse and enduring body of work. The best directors sought him out for some of their most important films and he never disappointed them."

* wrote his autobiography, 'Huston, We Have a Problem' in 2006 in reference to his work with Huston and said : 'It's true. I did used to go up and say, "John, we have a problem," and he would always say: "Well, kid," - he always called me kid - "what are you going to do about it?" and I'd go and find a solution. We always came up with something in the end.'

* in 2011 paid tribute to Sir Sydney Samuelson's contribution to the film industry in his usual unassuming and self-effacing manner :

* after his death, had the British Society of Cinematographers say of him: 'Ossie will be sorely missed by those in the industry, a delightful man, inspired by Ronald Neame and Guy Green; who in turn has himself been an inspiration to a new generation of cinematographers.'

Director Ronald Neame rated Ossie as "probably the greatest film cinematographer in the world", so what was the secret to his success ?

Firstly, his experience as a pilot of a Lancaster bomber during the Second World War when : "One thing I learned from the RAF was leadership. I flew the aircraft because I didn’t want some other idiot flying it, being responsible for my neck!” This was reflected in his work on set where he could be a real taskmaster who, once he set a scene, what he said was law. A perfectionist, at a time when one was needed, especially when working with Huston who would spend all day reading a book and then come on set expecting everything to be set up.

Secondly his ability to manage the stars he worked with and film them to their best advantage : “I would chat them up before filming started and ask if they had any hang-ups. You bypass the director and form a relationship with them. Sophia Loren was as nervous as a kitten when I worked with her in 1957. She said, 'I don’t look good in profile. I have a pointed nose’. So we developed a code: I would grimace whenever she was going into profile.”  When he worked with Jennifer Jones on several films and found her particularly difficult until he discovered her liking for boiled sweets and said  “I’d have a bag on hand so I could offer her one after a scene It would change her completely.”

The last factor was mentioned by Michael Caine : "Apart from being a superb cameraman he is also very nice, very kind and very funny – a tremendous combination."

Earlier post :
Monday, 10 February 2014
Britain is still a country for and says "Happy Birthday" to a very old cinematographer called Douglas Slocombe who brightened the lives of old men who saw his films at the pictures when they were boys

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Britain is a country where old men in danger of prostate cancer have a champion in Professor Pandha

The word 'prostate' is derived from the Greek word προστάτης, 'prostates', meaning : 'protector' or 'guardian'. For many old men their prostate gland, when it turns cancerous, is instrumental in destroying rather than protecting them and kills 11,000 of them each year.
Good news then, that old men of Britain two champions in the shape of Hardev Pandha, Professor of Medical Oncology at the University of Surrey and Dr Richard Morgan, who have devised a test which can identify early signs of the cancer. Professor Pandha has said : "This new test could lead to faster detection that could save hundreds of lives and also offers the potential for huge cost savings."

Studies show their new urine test to be twice as reliable as the existing blood test for detecting the disease – the most common cancer among British men and a cheap, easy and accurate test could be in doctors' surgeries within months. This means it should not only save lives but also spare old men rectal examination. In addition, costing as little as £10 a patient combined with its accuracy and simplicity, it could even lead to all old having the opportunity to being screened for the disease, as women are for breast cancer.

The old blood test :

* measured levels of a protein called prostate specific antigen, or PSA, but it was wrong more often than it is right.

* meant many men were subjected to the pain, worry and embarrassment of unnecessary biopsies.

* sometimes missed fledgling cancers until they have spread elsewhere in the body and were harder to treat.

The new urine test :

* dispenses with the need for needles.

* searches the urine for a protein called EN2, which is not made by healthy people but is pumped out by tumours.

* in trials, detected about 70% of prostate cancers, making it twice as accurate as the PSA test.

* shows that levels of EN2 accurately reflect the amount of cancer in the patient’s prostate gland meaning that small cancers do not require treatment and can be safely monitored, whereas larger volume cancers can be treated more promptly.

Tim Sharp, of 'The Prostate Project', which part-funded the research, said: "This is potentially the most exciting development in the diagnosis of prostate cancer for 25 years."

So, for once it's good news for many old men in Britain.

Professor Pandha and the work of the Surrey Clinical Research Centre :

Sunday 16 March 2014

Britain is a no longer a country for and says "Goodbye" to an old radical politician called Tony Benn who said much and changed little

Tony, left-wing political orator, campaigner and diarist and  has died aged 88 and the tributes have poured in.
Prime Minister David Cameron who once said he had been strongly influenced by his book, 'Arguments for Democracy',  tweeted : 'Tony Benn was a magnificent writer, speaker and campaigner. There was never a dull moment listening to him, even if you disagreed with him.'
Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour Opposition was more fulsome when he said that he:
* his death "represents the loss of an iconic figure of our age."
* he will be remembered as a "champion of the powerless, a great parliamentarian and a conviction politician."
* "spoke his mind and spoke up for his values."

Fine words, but at the end of the day, the answer to the question : 'What did Tony achieve in his political career ?'. The answer is : 'In the Labour Government when he served  as Postmaster General and Minister of Technology he oversaw the opening of the Post Office Tower and the introduction of the ill-fated Concorde airplane and ill-fate car manufacturer, British Leyland and not a lot else.' While he was doing this he believed he had a higher mission : "We are not just here to manage capitalism but to change society and to define its finer values."

The late parliamentary sketch writer, Simon Hoggart, appraised Tony in an article in the 'New Humanist' 10 years ago entitled 'Worthless values' and rightly concluded :
'Forget policies, and most of all forget values. It's personalities that matter, and in the end decide how much tax we pay, where our children go to school, and whether the nation goes to war.'

It was now that he swung to the left politically, challenged Denis Healey for the Labour Deputy Leadership, lost by a narrow margin and became instrumental in using Labour party machinery
to develop a left wing manifesto on which Michael Foot fought and lost the 1983 election which became known as the 'longest suicide note in history'. At this point, 30 years ago, he stopped exercising any influence over the body politic, withdrew from practical politics and launched his long rhetorical project. At that point he eschewed the possibility of changing the world from the inside where he was not a big player and swapped it for shouting from the outside where he was.

 For all his championship of the working classes there was always something of the public schoolboy about him, having attended the privileged Westminster School. He was obviously uncomfortable with this and in the 1975 edition of 'Who's Who' removed the reference to it and substituted : 'Education-still in progress'.  On the other hand he tried to present his privileged background as an asset and once said : "My contribution to the Labour party is that I know the British establishment inside out and what they're up to." There was, however, always that sense that he had to out-radicalise those working class warriors with whom he did business like Arthur Scargill during the bitter 1984-85 Miner's Strike.

He also maintained an enduring naivete and for example, after his trip to the Chinese embassy after Mao's death, recorded that he was 'a great admirer of Mao … he made mistakes, because everybody does', ignoring the fact that the estimated
number of innocent people who died in the Great Leap Forward, through Mao's policies for the countryside and from mass executions varies from between 40,000,000 and 65,000,000.
His attempt to stop the Iraq War in 2003 led to his visit to Baghdad and interview of Saddam Hussein, one of the world's worst mass murderers about "paths to peace" and recorded in his diary that his Deputy, Tariq Aziz was 'a nice guy'.
This naivete was beautifully demonstrated in his interview by Ali G, in which he did not realise that he was talking with Sacha Baron Cohen :

At the end of the day he changed little, but might possibly be remembered, as a footnote in the last quarter of the twentieth century for his rhetoric :

“The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways: the point, however, is to change it.”
Karl Marx