The Paine of change

June 23, 2006

Christopher Hitchens makes a good case for paying more attention to the ideas of Tom Paine today than we do (Opinion, June 16), but his view of the great democratic revolutionary is abstract.

Paine's ideas inspired those seeking change across the world, the Chartists in Britain for example. But the Chartist idea of the rights of man was very literal - women didn't get much of a look-in.

Paine's ideas inspired but were then translated into specific and practical strategies for political change. Hitchens was once involved enough to make similar points. These days he appears to prefer sniping from the sidelines.

Keith Flett

Tottenham

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