Magazine article The Spectator

Drink: Bruce Anderson

Magazine article The Spectator

Drink: Bruce Anderson

Article excerpt

Miracles are not ceased. A few years ago, a kindly educational therapist took pity on John Prescott and set out to devise a way to reconcile the Mouth of the Humber and his native tongue. He came up with Twitter. That explains the restriction to 140 characters, barely room for Lord Prescott to commit more than three brutal assaults on the English language.

A hundred and forty was too much. Twitter did not cure John Prescott. But it did gain pace among the young -- and, the miracle, with Nicholas Soames. Nick is one of the funniest men of this age. With Falstaff, he could say (he could say a lot with Falstaff): 'I am not only witty in myself but the cause that wit is in other men.' Even so, he is not new-fashioned. His taking to Twitter is on a par with Jeremy Corbyn becoming leader of the Labour party. No one would have thought it possible until it happened. Nicholas would know what a tweet was: the sound emitted by a bird to signal that it was too small to shoot. But who would believe that he was attuned to the fashionable young?

Oh we of little faith. He has become the Nijinsky, the Tendulkar, of the Twittersphere, with a glorious array of fours and sixes. The contrast with Boris Trump is instructive. Boris tries to drown out all debate -- any other voice -- with clowning and insensate egotism. Nicholas enhances serious points with spice and wit. I will confess that I have not read a lot of tweets. But I cannot believe that many twitterers have expressed such moral force in so brief a space. Nicholas's tweets are not the sole reason why Brexit will lose. They are a further reason why it deserves to lose.

We were discussing Nick the other day in one of his favourite restaurants, Bellamy's. I mentioned his name to Gavin Rankin, the admirable proprietor, in pursuit of a further miracle. In recent weeks, Soamesy appears to have suffered from galloping anorexia. …

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