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Posted Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Avis will be amused to see how many miles I have added to their Suburban -- which was rented to me brand new, with 200 miles on the clock. It has already clocked 5,400 miles in the last three weeks.

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March 22, 2005 (Tuesday)
Champaign -- Chicago (Illinois) -- Indianapolis (Indiana) --

At 10:30 am, I have a long, angry call from B. in London: feeling very ill, she has spent two hours at her "appointment" at the Passport Office trying to get a passport for Jessica for her school trip to Normandy.

The Black desk clerk, and then other Blacks, and then an Asian, none of them born in Britain and all of them finding it difficult to speak or understand English, state that Jessica is not entitled to a British passport (even though I am her father and Benté has lived in London over half her life); the rules have changed a year or two ago, she is told. I suspect that the new Rule One reads: Blacks are welcome here, but not the native English.

One incoherent Black even indicates that they might have to investigate whether Jessica is allowed to reside in the UK at all! I ask Benté if Jessica has been told, and she says yes. Like three of her English sisters in the 1960s, she was born in St Mary's Paddington -- at a time when most of the other patients were already, ahem, not exactly English. One has to be careful how one phrases these things. Benté is now investigating whether Jessica can get a Danish passport (though she doesn't speak the language).

My father (right), my grandfather ,and every male ancestor before them was English or Scots. My father fought in the Battle of Jutland in World War I, in 1916, the last great fleet action in history. In World War II he served in the Royal Navy warships escorting the Arctic convoys. FatherI have rather more English blood surging through my veins than a whole bunch of the political hacks sitting on either side of Tony Blair on his government benches. And so, of course, does Jessica. What a mess he and every recent government before him have got England into.

Photo Lt Cdr J J C Irving with his granddaughter, Mr Irving's second daughter Pilar, 1967


I DEPART Champaign at midday, and drive hard up I-57 to Chicago for the CNN Television studio. I am up at 435 North Michigan Avenue, the Tribune building -- at 2:10 pm. The Washington TV station has told me to be in good time for the interview starting at 2:30 pm.

After a five minute freshen-up, I go to suite 715. The security desk has already telephoned ahead. A po-faced CNN official comes out to see me, says nobody has told them, and who is the contact at Sinclair. I give the name and phone number [Alison, 202 293 0421]. He returns a bare moment later and says, straight-faced, "We have no camera teams here today."

CNN? No cameras? The first time something like this has happened in my broadcasting career. Shortly Alison of the TV station phones from Washington DC, no doubt red-faced, and asks me soothingly to be patient for a few minutes, explaining, "There is an issue at CNN."

Ten minutes and a disgusting cup of coffee -- which I do not touch -- later, she again phones: "I am sorry, but somebody has dropped the ball." I hang up. Somebody has probably leaned on CNN from above, after reading my website yesterday.

Down in Michigan Avenue my phone rings; Alison again, from DC. I say, "I know what happened, CNN told me," and again hang up. She phones again five minutes later as I am collecting the Suburban from the parking garage ($16 for half an hour), and shouts "Don't hang up Don't hang up!" But I do. Not pleased by this display of incompetence … or what? These things shall be.


EXCELLENT banquet at Chicago's [...] Building. The banqueting room is on the 112th floor, and I now see what I did not the last time we organised a function here, because it was then pitch dark outside -- that the room faces the Lake, with a spectacular view out "to sea."

That is not the only view this evening. The staff discreetly close the doors of our wing, and shuffle our guests in a wide detour around a second banqueting room, which, I see is hosting a somewhat larger function attended by a hundred people wearing beards, black trilbies, skull caps, and pious looks, accompanied by their amply bosomed ladies. I have no idea what it is about. Live and let live is my motto, even if not theirs.

There is only one empty seat at our horseshoe shaped table, bedecked with fine linen and crystal. There are many old friends, and some new. Because of the lavish surroundings, I am partly subsidizing the costs out of my own pocket. But some of my guests put in more than the ticket price asked. Because of the cost of the room, I end the evening out of pocket, but it is a flag waving demonstration: I can speak in Chicago if I want.

I talk on the background of the London Trial: "'The Lipstadt Trial, Five Years on: its Methods and Achievements" -- the talk I first offered in Atlanta before the C-Span cameras, and it meets much acclaim at the end. I think I shall alternate between that talk and the lecture on the Hitler Fakes, as I criss-cross this vast country. The main tour has now begun -- it will last six weeks and run some 15,000 miles or more -- all four corners, and then back to Chicago. Avis will be amused to see how many miles I have added to their Suburban, which was rented to me brand new, with 200 miles on the clock. It has already clocked 5,400 miles in the last three weeks.


C SPAN Television at last responds: "Following up on your request for a tape or DVD of your talk in Atlanta, we aren't able to provide that to you. C-SPAN doesn't have the resources to give tapes to all the groups/speakers we cover so we have a policy of not fulfilling any of those requests."

I reply: "I understand. I do hope you will be able eventually to inform me of the fate of your taping -- whether you will show it or not." 

 [Previous Radical's Diary]


Press reports: Stalin's "Hitler Book" discovered
© Focal Point 2005 F DISmall David Irving