Anthony Howard

Mischief and mayhem

Henry Fairlie was the journalistic idol of my youth. I met him, I think, first in 1955 when he had just started writing his Political Commentary in The Spectator — and it was on the mischievous appeal of those early columns that we had invited him to come and address the Oxford University Labour Club.

A diffident pioneer

Now Saga’s agony aunt, Katharine Whitehorn, has for more than 50 years been a trail-blazer in British journalism. Starting out as a member of the talented writing team on Picture Post, she went on (stopping off only briefly at Woman’s Own) to found the celebrated ‘Roundabout’ column in The Spectator before being scooped up by

Diary – 30 September 2005

It was that faintly implausible radical and revolutionary, Clem Attlee, who once likened the Labour party annual conference to ‘a Parliament of the movement’. And so, indeed, it used to be before our current Great Helmsman and his chums on the central committee put an end to all that. The party may still make its

An ersatz Boston Brahmin

The ‘campaign biography’ has become a familiar enough phenomenon in any American presidential year. So it should be said straight away that this book, with the slightly teasing adjective in its subtitle, is in no way representative of that genre. Far from being a dazzling encomium of the qualities of the Democratic candidate in this

Diary – 20 March 2004

By now they must have finished sifting the 79 applications and be drawing up the actual shortlist for the chairmanship of the BBC. Nothing as remotely exciting has ever happened in that strange Trafalgar Square annexe of government, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. It is, of course, an absurd ministry, originally invented, if