16 October

Marie Antoinette was beheaded, the Palace of Westminster was gutted by fire, the first broadcast of Blue Peter went out on BBC TV (with presenters Leila Williams and Christopher Trace) - and Henry Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize.

October 16, 2009 · 1 min read

All of these happened on 16 October, with the last prompting the satirical songwriter Tom Lehrer to declare that ‘satire became obsolete’ the day it happened. He never performed in public again.

Sadly for the urban myth-makers, the two were unconnected. ‘I don’t know how that got started,’ Lehrer said in interview years later. ‘For one thing, I quit long before that happened, so historically it doesn’t make any sense. I’ve heard that quoted back to me, but I’ve also heard it quoted that I was dead, so there you are.’

I hold your hand in mine, dear,

I press it to my lips.

I take a healthy bite

From your dainty fingertips.

My joy would be complete, dear,

If you were only here,

But still I keep your hand

As a precious souvenir.


After the virus: no return to the old economy

As the Covid recession hits, Adam Peggs lays out alternative economic proposals the Labour left should be demanding

In and against, and outside, the party

Following major defeats, the left on both sides of the Atlantic must urgently get stuck into community organising, movement building and political education, argues Joe Guinan

A tribute to Mike Cooley

Co-creator of the Lucas Plan, Mike showed how the immense talent of workers could be deployed for social use rather than private profit, writes Phil Asquith


Build small, think big

Phillip O’Sullivan looks at the role of community energy groups in disrupting the energy status quo

All Eyes on Wet’suwet’en

Suzanne Dhaliwal, in collaboration with Indigenous Climate Action, explains how the struggle to end Canada’s colonial violence is continuing in the face of fossil fuel extractivism

The downfall of Robin Hood Energy

The sale of Robin Hood Energy doesn’t mean public ownership doesn’t work, but that we need to be more ambitious, argues Edward Dingwall

Only fearless, independent journalism
can hold power to account

Your support keeps Red Pepper alive