Sir Bob Jones


I’m constantly bemused by sloppy writing from academics.

Consider this sentence by a (deservedly) respected Oxford University history Professor, Tom Holland, writing last year in The Spectator.

Straying off topic, Tom slipped in the following plug for his forthcoming book.

“Early next month sees the publication of my new book about the heyday of the Roman peace: the age of building the Colosseum and Hadrian’s Wall, and the destruction of Jerusalem and Pompei.”

So according to Tom, destroying Jerusalem and Pompeii were peaceful actions.

In fact, this blunder lay in his sloppy writing for the book’s title “War and Peace in Rome’s Golden Age”.

The first great newspaper columnist was Baltimore’s H.L Mencken whose 5000 words weekly offerings were published globally, including here in New Zealand and even in the Soviet Union in the 1930s and 1940s.

Mencken constantly poured scorn on farmers and school-teachers, and he meant it, albeit some readers may have assumed he was taking the mickey.

But he viewed both activities as the domain of dullards, fearful of life and thus driven totally by the pursuit of security, no matter the lousy return of a mundane predictable existence.

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Sir Robert ‘Bob’ Jones — now New Zealand’s largest private office building owner in Wellington and Auckland, and with substantial holdings in Sydney and Glasgow, totalling in excess of two billion...