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The Week That Was

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In the modern age, we mark the passing away of world-famous figureheads not by our personal connection to their messages, or how our lives were affected by their action, but so often by the 'where I was when I heard' moment.

For previous generations, it was the moment when JFK was shot or John Lennon gunned down. For mine, when Princess Diana died, and now the sad passing of Nelson Mandela.

Except of course, that's not really the case with Madiba. As Jon Snow most eloquently wrote this week, "The impact of his death will reach far beyond the frontiers of South Africa. There will be tears, but celebration for one of the most remarkable lives of our time."

This global icon, this man who united races and countries, this individual who changed the course of history, will be remembered not for what could have been, but what was, and the extensive legacy of his life's work.

Presidents and prime ministers were united in their unequivocal praise for Mandela, and humble in their reactions. Obama called him "one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with", while David Cameron labelled him "a true global hero".

In amongst the eulogies and the announcements of flags to be flown half-mast, there was light and humour too this week.

The memory of his guest appearance on Ground Force; a 60-second clip of Mandela dancing to Free Nelson Mandela. Let us not forget this was a man who had the good humour to proclaim the moment he met the Spice Girls "the best day of my life".

While our headlines this week were dominated by Mandela's death, it wasn't exactly a quiet week in British news.

If there was any doubt that style dominates substance, the other two big stories of the week - Nigella Lawson in court, and the Autumn Statement - put paid to that.

More column inches appear to have been saved for Ed Balls' red-faced, blustering retort to Osborne's latest economic manifesto, than the Statement itself.

Even as the Institute for Fiscal Studies questions just who'll be footing the £12billion hole in George's austerity forecast, Balls was widely seen as having 'lost' the Autumn Statement battle.

Labour might be ahead in the polls, but they're a significant number of points behind on the economy, and that position shows no sign of improving following Thursday's Westminster showdown.

From the Commons to Isleworth Crown Court, where Nigella Lawson was, on paper at least, appearing as a witness in the fraud trial of her two former assistants.

It was, however, hard to disagree with her own statement that in reality it was she who had been put on trial.

If that is indeed the case, it is hard to see how she can fail to gain a positive outcome.

Walking in with unblinking confidence, and not giving an inch on the witness stand, Britain's Domestic Goddess still holds her crown, admissions of drug use a side note to her steadfast refusal to be cowed on the stand.

And, once her appearance had been picked and pawed over, broken down by calorie count and pounds spent, the verdict was in, and pretty much everyone was impressed.

Around the Web

Biography – Nelson Mandela Foundation

Nelson Mandela - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nelson Mandela dies at 95 - CNN.com

BBC News - South Africa's Nelson Mandela dies in Johannesburg

Nelson Mandela Biography - Birthday, Facts, Life Story, Quotes ...

A letter of thanks to the late Nelson Mandela

Robben Island: The place that changed Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela death: World mourns South Africa's first black president

Nelson Mandela: 10 surprising facts you probably didn't know

'He is now at peace': Nelson Mandela dead at 95