Londoner's Diary: Literati catfight over Darwinism

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In publishing, it’s survival of the fittest. So it’s no surprise that a new book on evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin is resulting in a literary row. 

Last week Dr Adam Rutherford, Radio 4 boffin and author of new book A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived, tweeted that Amazon would not let him post a review of A.N. Wilson’s new tome Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker Inside Science. He isn’t kind. “I have never come across a more incoherent, inconsistent, deranged attempt to analyse Darwin as a man and his science,” Rutherford writes. “If A.N. Wilson has indeed researched this book for five years he has managed to do something impressive, which is to draw conclusions which are so comprehensively batshit as to fall into the category of ‘not even wrong’.” 

Rutherford accuses Wilson of a “misguided” association between Darwin, pictured, and Adolf Hitler and that “based on this book he would fail GCSE biology catastrophically.”  

Amazon at first wouldn’t approve the hatchet job. Then Rutherford posted again deleting the word batshit. “Shame A.N. Wilson didn’t [remove the batshit]”, one of his followers interjected. 

Rutherford is not alone in the critique: fellow geneticist Steve Jones said of A.N. Wilson’s book in The Sunday Times: “This book is the founding volume of the Fake News School of Science Writing.”

Wilson, who has written on figures including Queen Victoria and John Betjeman, has an average rating of 1.5 stars from online reviews. Rutherford’s book, which came out on the same day as Wilson’s, has a 4.5 rating, incidentally. 

Wilson hits back: “The intemperate responses from some, not all, scientists suggest something weird is going on, as if one has taken away their comfort blanket or, dare one say, their God. Obviously the only way for reasonable people to decide is to buy my book and make up their own minds!”

Caroline Flint may have supported the Remain campaign in 2016 but she’s no longer a poster girl for staying in the European Union. The Labour MP will abstain from voting on tonight’s EU Withdrawal Bill, thus risking the ire of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn who had called for a three-line whip for his MPs to vote against the Brexit legislation. Flint has even got a new tagline. “I’m No Re-Mona Lisa,” she told The Londoner.

Tony Blair takes back Corbyn slogan

Tony had Jeremy’s slogan first (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

TONY Blair reappeared over the weekend to talk immigration, but he’s reasserting his possession of the lexicon borrowed by Jeremy Corbyn. The former PM heads up the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change which, a friend notes, bears the slogan “making globalisation work for the many, not the few”.

Jezza used the phrase “for the many, not the few” in the Labour manifesto and revisited it in several pre-election speeches. He was, aides said, inspired by Shelley’s rousing The Masque of Anarchy, but party faithfuls will recall that Blair used it first. A slogan for the many, not the few… 

Quote of the Day

Trump proves more buisness-minded than presidential (Drew Angerer/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

“If you talk about branding, no brand has improved more than the United States Coast Guard”

Donald Trump, speaking about Hurricane Irma’s emergency response, proves he’s still thinking more like a businessman

Get on the blower and rally to the cause

Celebrities hit the phones this morning for the annual BGC Charity Day, an annual event where the brokerage company pledges money to hundreds of charities in memory of the employees lost on 9/11. 

Actress Elizabeth Hurley showed her commitment to the cause by being one of the first VIPs in the door, comedian Alan Carr risked disapproving looks by posing with his Louboutin-clad feet on the desk, while Sadiq Khan appeared to be having a successful morning of buying and selling. You wouldn’t want to miss that call…

Dominic Cooper mocks James Corden’s driving skills (Getty)

IMPRESSED by James Corden’s driving in Carpool Karaoke and the Confused.com adverts? It’s all just smoke and mirrors, according to his best friend. Actor Dominic Cooper, who met Corden while in the National Theatre’s run of The History Boys, is yet to see the ad but can’t believe his mate’s audacity. “That is so funny,” he tells GQ. “The idea of him doing a handbrake turn? He is a terrible driver. He can’t even drive a manual car. He can only drive automatics.”  Busted. 

Bernie’s spirit lives on

Bernie’s legend lives on (Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for The British Film Commission)

Bernie Katz may have left Soho for the last time but his legacy will remain. The legendary gatekeeper at the Groucho Club passed away in August but a new fund seeks to ensure his kind spirit lives on.

Found on Just Giving, friends and fans of Katz hope to raise £100,000 to help Rhoda, his elderly mother, and Ethan, his nephew. “Bernie Katz — the man, the legend, ‘The Prince of Soho’, devoted his life to giving,” the fund’s page states. “His energy, his love, his kindness and his divine eccentricity shone its light on everyone.”

Many Groucho regulars have already contributed. “I will miss you,” actress Alison Steadman writes. “You were kind, fun and an absolute one-off.” “Look,” comedian Danny Wallace adds. “When I get there, is it cool if I sneak a few extra people in?”

The fund has raised more than £12,000 since opening on Friday. 

Tweet of the Day

“Who do you think people will fully believe first: women or climate change”

Sarah Lerner on the joys of being female and environmentally conscious.

Tragedy of the day: alt-Right mouthpiece Milo Yiannopoulos’s Miami home has been torn down by Hurricane Irma.

Beckhams’ New York show of force

Ed, Becks and Brooklyn show Posh’s support (Instagram)

VICTORIA Beckham had the perfect trio supporting her at New York Fashion Week yesterday: Vogue editor Edward Enninful, husband David and eldest son Brooklyn. He is supposed to be studying in Manhattan but has been attending several high-profile events. We hope he’s keeping up with his homework.

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