Yesterday began with the sad news that Christopher Hitchens had died. He had only been in the periphery of my mind until his book, God is Not Great, joined Dawkins's, cementing that ever-increasing movement, The New Atheists. A force for good simply because they questioned and interrogated the authorities that too many have been dominated by - within and without - for many a long century. There are those who turned away from 'The Hitch' when he voted for Dubya Bush because Hitch wanted war against 'Islamo-fascism'. Although he claimed he was always a Marxist. He lived his life dialectically - always interrogating his beliefs as he went along and not being afraid to discard old skins for newer, truer ones. Therefore, seen in that regard, I believe we can see him as a true Marxist - the dialectic being the driving force - moving onward to new thesis/antethesis. Denis McShane MP called him a cross between Voltaire and Orwell, a pleasing combination - Orwell, as brilliant as he was, needed a heavy dash of fizzing, fearless satire. 'Courageous' is the word most commonly attributed to Hitchens and it fits when one considers that it is courageous to go through one's adult life forever challenging the status quo - he certainly made many enemies. He was a heavy drinker and smoker - yet he was a heavy everything and I doubt we'd have had the same person had he not. And, as many colleagues and editors also say of him, he never missed a deadline. I loved his emphasis on friendship and integrity - he had vigorous, robust, stimulating and true friends. He lived a good life and his words, which he loved above all else, have served to inspire countless others.

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