No frogs in Alaska

Attenborough’s lucidity a benchmark for Pailn.

As a benchmark for Sarah Palin’s incoherence, enjoy a BBC radio interview this morning on disappearing frogs. The interviewee is the Beeb’s nature broadcaster and ex-mandarin Sir David Attenborough. The interviewer is sympathetic to the great man, a 56-year television pro. But Attenborough is 82, and his answers are plainly extempore. You could print the transcript and wouldn’t need to edit it apart from cutting out the hesitations. Every sentence is well-formed. And no, he doesn’t come across as cold or snooty in the least, just as an approachable and knowledgeable enthusiast for his work.

It may be unreasonable to expect politicians under stress to achieve quite this standard of lucid speech, but they should be competing in the same league. Obama, McCain, Dodd, Paulson, Brown, Sarkozy and many others do. Palin can’t.

Author: James Wimberley

James Wimberley (b. 1946, an Englishman raised in the Channel Islands. three adult children) is a former career international bureaucrat with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. His main achievements there were the Lisbon Convention on recognition of qualifications and the Kosovo law on school education. He retired in 2006 to a little white house in Andalucia, His first wife Patricia Morris died in 2009 after a long illness. He remarried in 2011. to the former Brazilian TV actress Lu Mendonça. The cat overlords are now three. I suppose I've been invited to join real scholars on the list because my skills, acquired in a decade of technical assistance work in eastern Europe, include being able to ask faux-naïf questions like the exotic Persians and Chinese of eighteenth-century philosophical fiction. So I'm quite comfortable in the role of country-cousin blogger with a European perspective. The other specialised skill I learnt was making toasts with a moral in the course of drunken Caucasian banquets. I'm open to expenses-paid offers to retell Noah the great Armenian and Columbus, the orange, and university reform in Georgia. James Wimberley's occasional publications on the web