The White Hart Hotel.
Though many leftists who focus selectively on his ideas on social security and land tax object to my using his name to blog, I am a genuine admirer of the original, best and only important Tom Paine. He was a man who - by use only of his untutored writing skills - earned a reputation as "...the most dangerous man alive..." and was instrumental in creating two of my favourite republics. His thinking still energises a wide spectrum of opinions today.
I also love that, like my other heroes; Shakespeare, John Harrison and Margaret Thatcher, he was from an ordinary background and attracted hostilty almost as much for his impertinence in having talent as for the nature of his activity. Snobs can't bear it when the peoples' voice is heard - and there are no greater snobs than those who believe patronisingly in their right to tell the people how to live, whatever class background or other "qualification" they base that "right" upon.
Above all, Tom appealed to reason and I love him for that. He didn't claim the right of one group to rule another, whether based on class, race or creed. He fearlessly advocated his views, though they cost him all the honour he earned in his life and meant that he died neglected and unloved. The greater of the two republics he founded has only rediscovered him in relatively recent times, though I seriously don't believe a better man ever lived. I use his name not from hubris but out of respect and I don't claim to be worth of cleaning his pens for him.
So I am genuinely excited to be meeting a good friend for lunch next Tuesday at the White Hart in Lewes where Old Tom sharpened his wits in political debate before setting out to change the world with his pen. I am looking forward to it and just hoping the weather permits of as charming a drive as the inadequate roads in Britain's economic heartlands (their wealth diverted from infrastructure to corrupt redistribution) permit.
My friend is an opinionated and intelligent Australian lady with a ready wit, sharp tongue and wide vocabulary so we will do our best to uphold the debating traditions of the venue. If any readers happen to be near at hand, please look for Speranza in the car park and come in to say hello.