Lyndon johnson

Why the world needs Richard Nixon

Gstaad The Speccie arrived just in time for me to read about the rudeness of one Lyndon Johnson, then vice-president, toward Lady Antonia Fraser. A later occupant of the White House, Jimmy Carter, was not as discourteous as the Texan, but in somewhat similar circumstances he left the poor little Greek boy standing alone surrounded by secret service heavies. This took place at a grand New York dinner party given in Carter’s honour by a real-estate lady, and I was seated with Norman Mailer who was busy trying to make whoopee with my ex sister-in-law, Betsy Kaiser. Norman and I had talked about democracy at the start of the dinner,

I’m glad Anthony Powell didn’t take my writing advice

There is general excitement among the legions of fans of A Dance to the Music of Time: next week a plaque to Anthony Powell will be placed on 1 Chester Gate, the house where he started to write the many-volumed work of genius. I have a particular interest in attending, not only because Powell was married to my father’s sister Violet, but also because I took advantage of the relationship to lodge for several years in Chester Gate. This was when my parents chose to live maddeningly in Hampstead Garden Suburb and at the age of about 17 I was beginning to go to parties. Go to them? But how

The UK’s very American political realignment

The speed and scale with which voters, mainly but not exclusively in the north of England, have switched their allegiance from traditional Labour to Conservative has been described as unprecedented. Professor Tony Travers of the LSE called it ‘amazing’ and spoke of ‘a massive shift of tectonic plates’. Nor can the results of last week’s elections be dismissed as a one-off. The breaches in the so-called ‘Red Wall’ began well before the Conservative landslide in the 2019 General Election and what happened last Thursday is unlikely to be the end. Labour voters, it appears, were released from their life-long loyalty to the party by the Brexit referendum, and then transferred