Christopher Hitchens was a well-known journalist, based in the US, and quite the bon vivant, or so I hear! He died last week. Perhaps some of you knew this already. For those returning from polar exploration or recovering from hysterical episodes of deaf-blindness, approximately 9000 articles await you on a man called the Hitch, usually by those who had never met him, or met him once at the dry-cleaners. They fall into three clear divisions: the British pallbearers, the American cousins, and what Tom Lehrer might have called his temporary allies on the Left, and his traditional allies on the Right.

For the Right, who were pleased to welcome him in the post-9/11 -- and particularly the post-Iraq quagmire years -- he was manna from the heaven in which he didn't believe; an atheist willing to argue for the superiority and Right of the West, an (initially) fervent pro-Palestinian willing to denounce a great deal of anti-Zionism, and eager, in his final years, to toy with his vestigial and recently discovered Jewish ancestry.