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Final farewell

Brian Micklethwait departed this world earlier today, leaving the samizdatistas poorer for his absence but richer for his lifetime dedication to the cause of liberty.

53 comments to Final farewell

  • the last toryboy

    Sad news. RIP

  • William O. B'Livion

    My condolences to his friends, family and loved ones.

    Fuck cancer.

  • Plamus

    A man that will be missed.

  • Alsadius

    RIP, Brian.

  • lucklucky

    My condolences.

  • Jonathan Bailey

    Sad news. I always enjoyed Brian’s writing. He will be missed. Condolences to the rest of the Samizdatistas on the passing of your friend and colleague.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Although I knew it was coming I am still shocked. A life well lived indeed.

  • The Fyrdman

    I’m saddened to hear. I have always enjoyed his photos as well as his writings. My condolences to his friends and family.

  • WindyPants

    Sorry to hear that – my condolences go out to his loved ones.

  • Alex

    Really sorry to hear that. I never met Brian but I feel like I knew him through his various writings. Condolences to all family, his brother Toby, and his friends. Brian’s legacy is considerable, his writings, insights and of course his passionate photography.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    My condolences. RIP.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Having read the other comments, i feel that i cannot add anything. Except to say that i was hoping against all odds. I did not (and still do not) know what the oncologists told him, after all.

  • Mr Ed

    Very sad news, I only went to a couple of his Friday talks, but they were excellent. My happiest memory: Brian announcing to a libertarian conference the news (in the days long before smartphones) that Ken Dodd had been acquitted of tax fraud. My abiding memory, a searchlight of a mind, illuminating truth and blinding foes at the same time. A terrible day it has been.

  • Patrick Crozier

    I have no words. He was unique.

  • Syed Kamall

    Even though we knew that with each passing day his health was declining, I’m still feeling numb from the news of Brian’s passing. May he rest in peace. It was a pleasure and an experience to know him.

  • Windlifter

    Brian was one of a kind. I never met him other than through his writings and his photography, but he has left an imprint in me.

  • Dalben

    This is very sad news, his writings had great impact on me and from what I’ve read here many other people. My condolences to his family and friends who are suffering his loss.

  • JohnW

    Sad news. My condolences to his friends, family and loved ones.

  • George Atkisson

    So sad to hear. His memory will be treasured far beyond the reach of his immediate family.

  • David Allan

    I am saddened. May he rest in peace.

  • Mark Green

    I’ve been a lurker on this blog for 15-odd years and his incisive commentary and devastating asides will be missed. Those of who knew him well, know that many others loved him too.

  • Oh, my condolences. He was a great writer.

  • Steve B

    Long time reader here. Even without knowing him personally I can say with certainty he was a good and interesting man. I hope that knowledge provides some comfort to those grieving.

  • bobby b

    ” . . . departed this world . . . “

    Judging by the number of friends commenting and the amount of respect expressed, he hasn’t departed at all.

  • Sam Duncan

    My deepest sympathies to all who were close to him. I learned myself earlier this year that even when you know it’s coming, the reality of the end still hits harder than you expect.

    But yes, bobby b, as long as we read and talk about him and his writing, he lives on in spirit.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I first met Brian in 1985, when he worked at the Alternative Bookshop in Covent Garden. From the start I was struck by his intellectual gusto, lack of pretension, enthusiasm for the cause, and all seasoned with his eccentricities and enthusiasms. On countless Friday evenings I enjoyed his company and that of many folk who now frequent this blog. I was privileged to lead several of the talks he arranged, and it was also great when he got to meet my wife and family, and vice versa.

    Brian had more impact on more people than thousands of university professors with smart letters after their names. And he was a liberal in the best, old sense of that much-abused word. He was interested in everyone, and everything. He wrote with the same passion about the scripts of TV series Friends and the struggles of the England rugby team or weird architecture, as he would about more intellectually standard stuff like the monetary ideas of Milton Friedman or the trade policies of the EU.

    They don’t come around very often, so when you meet someone like Brian, treasure them, and tell them. I am glad I told him how much I liked him as a friend and valued his company. I will never forget him.

    Rest in peace.

  • staghounds

    He improved the world with what he did and who he was.

  • Cattle die, kinsmen die.
    Someday we ourselves must die.
    I know one thing that never dies:
    The lasting fame of the storied dead.

    (Essays and articles work well also.)

  • Bugger. A glass of something will be raised this evening.

  • Devil’s Kitchen

    Terrible news, but glad I got to see him that final time — at an event honouring the real and positive impact that he had on so many people.

    RIP, Brian.

  • Clovis Sangrail

    I treasured his writing on this site.
    I will miss his wit and evident generosity of spirit.

  • Chris Cooper

    Always with an original light to throw on any subject he discussed.

    Though often acerbic towards fools and knaves in his writings, always friendly and courteous to those he was with.

    A libertarian of the heart and soul, as well as the brain.

  • I spoke to Brian just recently. He had started a new treatment and was feeling rough but his mind was as sharp as ever.

    He expressed regret that Dierdre McCloskey had missed something important in the work of Emanuel Todd. That the ideas and preoccupations of the people of Britain were different from Germany and other nations when a wave of change had washed over them thanks to the printing press and spread of literacy. This affected the course of events when literacy came to Britain.

    We drew out links to the Levellers and the analysis put forward by Richard Carey and out to the work of Anton Howes. He believed that he’d put some ideas together in a way others had missed and he had “something original to say” about the consequences. I regret that having read neither Emmanuel Todd or Dierdre McCloskey I did not fully understand and was not able to record much of his narrative. He seemed to believe he had explained hundred of years of human history. He had opened a window to type up an article and thanked me for the chance to talk over his ideas.

    He did not publish the article.

  • Mark Holland

    RIP Brian.

    He was a lovely man and jolly kind to me back in the golden age of blogging.

    He will be missed.

  • He did not publish the article.

    Brian told me he was intending to work on that ‘next’ just a few days ago.

  • Paul Marks

    Brian was a good man.

  • Patrick Crozier

    Simon and Perry, a bit of good news. Brian did record his ideas on Todd and McCloskey in a podcast with me last week. I will be publishing that as and when I get my act together.

  • Jackie D

    Absolutely gutted. What a gift it was to know him and to get to watch him do his thing — thinking, asking questions, articulating, photoing (as he called it), laughing, getting annoyed, and walking around Pimlico with that tote bag. I learned so much from him.

  • nweismuller

    I have only been a lurker here for many years, but I felt as if I knew Brian through his writing and insights. He will very much be missed.

  • neonsnake

    A great loss. Condolences to all that knew him.

  • David Goldstone

    The phrase “He dedicated his life to …“ is overused. But when it comes to Brian, it could not be more apt. The cause of liberty is the poorer for his passing.

  • Alan Peakall

    My condolences to all who knew Brian. I was prompted to re-read his NormBlog profile here. The clearest impression I have of him is one who always believed that it was his responsibility to explain his views and never his listener’s fault for misunderstanding him. How sad to lose him what that quality is even shorter supply than usual.

  • Alisa

    Very sad news, may he rest in peace.

  • Fuck Cancer. And Damn. I thought (hoped) he was gaining the upper hand. Apparently not.

    I never met him, always wanted to. I guess I need to get more serious about meeting my intellectual heros

  • Stephen William Houghton II

    I am tearing up even though I never meet him. His work here was great and benefitted me greatly. RIP

  • Michael Jennings

    FrancisT: The trouble with cancer is that you treat it and the treatment works for a while, and then the cancer evolves and it stops working. Sadly. Fuck cancer.

  • tr

    I don’t check the byline before I read a Samizdata post, but when I read one of Brian’s after a few lines I can tell it was his, and I smile. I will miss Brian’s distinct voice.


    This has floored me, it really has. I have followed the website since its beginnings as a spotty University student and read so many of Brian’s articles. May he rest in peace, a true Liberal and a true gentleman.

  • konshtok


    from an almost 20 years reader

  • Tim S

    Very sad. I will think of him often.

  • RIP Brian. A hero of mine. I will try to be a better man and fight for what I believe in, as you did daily.

  • virgil xenophon

    Late here, haven’t been around for awhile, sad to say. He will obviously be missed by many. Condolences. RIP. (BTW, Glad to see Devil’s K. is still around. I first read him years ago when he was super active w. his own gig–that’s how fossilized *I* am 🙂 )

  • California Writer

    Very sad to hear this. I have been reading Samizdata for 20 years and his essays improved my understanding of the world.