Andrew Gimson rss

This Kohlian abomination

22 September 2012
From Germany to Germany: Journal of the Year 1990 Günter Grass

Harvill Secker, pp.239, £15.99, ISBN: 9781846554735

In the year when East and West Germany were being reunited Günter Grass felt he must start keeping a diary. He was sure what was taking place was a dreadful… Read more


Conduct becoming

25 August 2012

Every so often a programme appears which can be recommended even to people who hate television. Parade’s End (Friday, BBC1) is such a work. The awkward — one might think… Read more


Prophet of doom

21 July 2012
Enoch at 100: A Re-evaluation of the Life, Politics and Philosophy of Enoch Powell edited by Lord Howard of Rising

Biteback, pp.320, 25, ISBN: 9781849543101

Enoch Powell was defeated. He condemned Edward Heath for being the first prime minister in 300 years who entertained, let alone executed, the intention of depriving Parliament of its sole… Read more

No time for bogus pieties

16 June 2012
Confessions of a Eurosceptic David Heathcoat-Amory

Pen and Sword, pp.168, 19.99, ISBN: 9781781590485

This is the shortest political memoir I have ever been sent for review. It is a marvel of concision: 27 years in the Commons set down in only 168 pages.… Read more

Class system

7 April 2012

When my wife said she thought we should educate our three children at comprehensive schools, it was with a degree of trepidation that I went along with her. I was… Read more

A safe pair of hands

7 April 2012
The Spicer Diaries Michael Spicer

Biteback, pp.611, 30

Michael Spicer is too honourable to be a brilliant diarist. As he himself says, ‘I eschew tittle-tattle or small talk.’ These diaries cannot be read, as Chips Channon’s or Alan… Read more

Anglo-Saxon divide

25 February 2012
Keeping Up With the Germans Philip Oltermann

Faber, pp.304, 12.99

Philip Oltermann has set himself an almost impossibly ambitious task. In 1996, when he was 15 years old, he moved from Hamburg to London, so he has close experience of… Read more

Fear and loathing in Baden-Wurttemberg

21 January 2012

Stuttgart Everyone is frightened of the euro. So said the sweet old lady who runs the small hotel where I am staying. She and her husband are Germans who came… Read more


The rival

10 December 2011

Ken Livingstone’s attacks on Boris Johnson seem to conceal admiration How does Ken Livingstone think he is going to beat Boris Johnson in the election for Mayor of London to… Read more


The Conservatives: A History by Robin Harris

12 November 2011
The Conservatives: A History Robin Harris

Bantam, pp.632, 30

If David Cameron and his friends wish to know why they and their policies are so despised by some Conservatives of high intellect and principle, they should read Robin Harris.… Read more


Work in progress

8 October 2011
Just Boris: The Irresistible Rise of a Political Celebrity Sonia Purnell

Aurum Press, pp.400, 20

At long last Johnson Studies is starting to take off. It had always been my hope, after publishing my own slim volume on Boris Johnson, that the baton could be… Read more


1 October 2011

Liverpool Drink, gossip, late nights, hotel rooms in which it is impossible to open the window or get back to sleep once woken: the party conference season is in full… Read more

Professional jealousy

25 March 2011

 Few words now carry such tiresome connotations as ‘Eton’. Although the Prime Minister and some of his closest colleagues are Etonians, the British press considers it a dreadful disadvantage to… Read more

White mischief

4 December 2010

Boris Johnson’s enemies are hoping for a final snow-down London woke to snow and people wondered whether this time Boris Johnson would show true grit. His enemies reckon there’s no… Read more


The Tories’ history man

16 June 2010

Andrew Gimson talks to Alistair Cooke, the godfather of the Cameroons, about Dave’s temperament and Hilton’s penchant for ponchos As David Cameron solicits approval for deep spending cuts, he has… Read more


The property bubble is waiting to burst

10 February 2010

As a general rule, it is a mistake to go through life thinking about how much one’s house is worth. In the summer of 2002, when I bought my ‘lovely… Read more

The political education of David Cameron

18 November 2009

Eighty years ago this week, the institution in which David Cameron and his closest lieutenants learned their trade was born. The press is fascinated by his membership of the Bullingdon… Read more

Cameron is not an enigma, he’s an Anglican

16 September 2009

The reason why so many people cannot fathom David Cameron is that he is an Anglican. This gives him considerable (some would say contemptible) flexibility as far as dogma is… Read more

Boris for Prime Minister?

22 April 2009

Boris Johnson’s first year as Mayor of London has proved something of a shock, especially to his own side. His enemies, including the Tory parliamentary leadership as well as the… Read more

Carry on, cardiologist

18 December 2004

On a Friday morning earlier this year I kept an appointment with Dr Mark Hamilton, a consultant physician and gastroenterologist at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, to ask him… Read more

King of the charm offensive

10 April 2004
Edward VII and the Entente Cordiale Ian Dunlop

Constable, pp.315, 25

There could scarcely be a more delightful way to remind oneself of the British and French statesmen who created the Entente Cordiale, signed on 8 April 1904, than to read… Read more

Cigarette lady

7 February 2004

Lady Trumpington is on the warpath. At the age of 81, the author of the tremendous dictum ‘I’d rather be common than middle-class’ will deploy her formidable rhetorical powers to… Read more

The joys of inequality

17 January 2004

It is time we gave the party some electric-shock treatment. The words are worthy of Stalin or Mao, but were spoken by nice, considerate Tony Blair soon after becoming Labour… Read more

Honour bound

27 December 2003

The inanity of minuting these conversations! The madness of putting on paper derogatory remarks about such very distinguished people! These were among the chief exclamations made at the Christmas party… Read more

Hitler’s unbalanced Orangeman

22 November 2003
Germany Calling: A Personal Biography of William Joyce, ‘Lord Haw Haw’ Mary Kenny

New Island, pp.300, 17.99

Lord Haw-Haw: The English Voice of Nazi Germanyby Peter MartlandThe National Archives, £19.99, pp. 308, ISBN 1903365171 Although I yield to no one in my admiration of Mary Kenny as… Read more