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.
22, 2005 (Tuesday)
-- 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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Stalin's "Hitler Book" discovered