Up Tom Paine did run

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Up Tom Paine did run

Post  eddie on Sat Mar 03, 2012 11:00 am

My hero: Thomas Paine by Sue Townsend

'He led the life I would like to have led'

Sue Townsend

guardian.co.uk, Friday 2 March 2012 22.55 GMT


Thomas Paine by John Wesley Jarvis. Photograph: © Bettmann/Corbis

Thomas Paine led the life I would like to have led. He was born into a poor family in Norfolk, became a corset-maker and then taught in a village school. He became involved in republican politics, through which he met Benjamin Franklin, who invited him to go to America. Thanks to Common Sense, he was an important figure in the American revolution and is one of the founding fathers of the US. In 1790 he went, full of ardour, to revolutionary France, where he voted for the French republic but before too long fell foul of Robespierre.

Rights of Man is my favourite book. I loved it when I first read it: his style is so direct and vernacular. It simply says that we don't need the monarchy, we are intelligent enough to manage without it. I'm a republican myself and I don't think anybody has written anything better about the republican cause. He is so politely savage about the monarchy that you are swept away.

More than ever I believe in the republican cause. I think that we should feel quite sorry for the royal family. Most of them were born into it, so they can't see how bizarre and strange it is to have these odd, dysfunctional people at the top of the heap in this country. Just today I found a website of the UK's top 20 tourist sites: Windsor Castle is no 17, and no 16 is Windsor Legoland. It's quite easy to dispel all the myths about the monarchy, and that is what Paine did, wittily and in language that everybody could understand. I think I've been slightly braver since I read Rights of Man in holding what are often considered unorthodox views. It taught me the importance of scepticism.

• The Woman Who Went To Bed For a Year by Sue Townsend is published by Michael Joseph.

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Re: Up Tom Paine did run

Post  pinhedz on Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:22 pm

I've always liked Tom. But I'm not sure that he understood that America, France and England were three very different places, and one size doesn't fit all.

Did he understand that Independence is different from Revolution, and that the American Revolution overthrew no one, and actually confirmed the positions of the people already running the country?

And did he understand that, even in his day, England was not a monarchy?

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Re: Up Tom Paine did run

Post  eddie on Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:53 pm

pinhedz wrote:And did he understand that, even in his day, England was not a monarchy?

But Britain was? Suspect

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Re: Up Tom Paine did run

Post  pinhedz on Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:14 pm

eddie wrote:But Britain was?
Possibly a trick question. Suspect

But I'll admit that, since George III could dissolve parliament, he was close to being a real monarch. king

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Re: Up Tom Paine did run

Post  eddie on Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:52 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfRIIM9cRQc
Mark Steel on Tom Paine (1/6)

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Re: Up Tom Paine did run

Post  eddie on Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:53 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4R8v0NQQitk&feature=relmfu
Mark Steel on Tom Paine (2/6)

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Re: Up Tom Paine did run

Post  eddie on Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:54 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IK2zsw4--BM&feature=relmfu
Mark Steel on Tom Paine (3/6)

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Re: Up Tom Paine did run

Post  eddie on Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:56 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFc-XpR0onw&feature=relmfu
Mark Steel on Tom Paine (4/6)

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Re: Up Tom Paine did run

Post  eddie on Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:58 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reaIXOu9D6A&feature=relmfu
Mark Steel on Tom Paine (5/6)

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Re: Up Tom Paine did run

Post  eddie on Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:00 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpDAodMtVW0&feature=relmfu
Mark Steel on Tom Paine 6/6

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