The personal, not the political. The stream of newspaper supplements, plays, documentaries, is upsetting me even more than it did at the time. Like everyone else, I remember the moment well. I was at a party at Oxford, which broke up as the news came through. A fellow student invited me back to his room to listen to the radio: we have been married for 46 years. It may be simply the realisation that 50 years, almost a lifetime, have gone by since that momentous evening. Or it may be the loss of western innocence, as I see it, being brought home to me. Never again did we take the charisma and rhetoric of a president at face value. Never again did world leaders travel in open top cars (remember Benazir Bhutto’s end) or anywhere without the utmost security. Soon it was to be the turn of the rest of us, unable to travel without worrying about our safety and random terrorism. Never again did we trust what seemed to be a straighforward explanation of a crime, and the conspiracy theorists took hold. Never again did we believe that heads of state were less vulnerable than anyone else (remember Princess Diana.) The USA lost its shine, the glamour it had acquired in British eyes as a result of its assistance in the war and the largesse it distributed afterwards, not to mention the movies and the music. Even my own student era, a time when higher education and maintenance were free, and the Beatles were new on the scene, was tarnished from that moment. The only good reflection I have is that democracy emerged unscathed. The transition to LBJ was relatively smooth, international relations did not worsen as a result of the assassination, civil rights in the USA and man’s first landing on the moon were soon to arrive, and no widespread unrest, vengeance or looting took place. But the pattern of tragic deaths of the Kennedys continued, save only that Caroline Kennedy emerged relatively unscathed, and I see today that she has been appointed US envoy to Japan. Normally I think it wrong to give key diplomatic posts to inexperienced non-diplomats, big donors and the like, but in this case I wish her, and the US-Japan relationship well.