Tony Leon Columnist

On Monday night, in the real world and in one of its cultural capitals, Paris, 800 years of French history and an icon of Christianity dating to the Middle Ages, went up in smoke. While the lasting damage inflicted by the fire that devastated Notre Dame Cathedral is being assessed, the global shock and horror is immediate and spreads far beyond a country which sets such store and value by its formidable cultural accoutrements and architecture, of which Notre Dame is surely the finest.

The same night, but in the world of virtuality and fantasy,  some die-hard South African fans were awake at 3am to watch the first instalment of the eighth and last season of the television blockbuster Game of Thrones. It is quite probable in our country and world of instant gratification and historic memory loss that more people can recite in grisly detail the gore and slaughter and treachery in the land of Westeros than even locate from a photograph the identity of Notre Dame. The Game of Thrones franchise is actually a very good match for the joust in politics. I recently finished reading the quite wonderful Andrew Roberts biography of Churchill, Walking with Destiny, and was struck anew by all the remarkable characteristics of perhaps the most profound statesman to bestride the 20th century.  Many, many things the British politician and grandee got wrong, from racial profiling and imperialism in India to disastrous military adventures in Gallipoli and Norway. But on the hinge q...

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