Francis Beckett

Chris Mullin’s eye for the absurd remains as keen as ever

Journalists seldom get to the top in politics. They find it hard to trot out the dreary virtue-signalling that political communication often requires. Chris Mullin, I suspect, finds it almost impossible. He was a Bennite, but the Bennites quickly discovered he was unreliable. The Blairites might have welcomed him had they not suspected, rightly, that

The visionary genius of Harold Wilson

‘Our generation owes an apology to the shades of Harold Wilson,’ the polling guru Peter Kellner once told me. Had Wilson not firmly resisted pressure from President Lyndon Johnson to send troops to Vietnam, Kellner and I were both old enough to have fought there. But in 1968 we loftily despised Wilson for twisting and

Should the Duke of Windsor have been tried for treason?

In Traitor King, Andrew Lownie shows how the Duke of Windsor — the former Edward VIII, who abdicated in 1936 — gave aid and comfort to his country’s enemies before and during the second world war. Reading this meticulously researched book, it seems extraordinary that he remained at liberty. A less deferential society would have

Britain can be as prone to fascism as any other nation

It’s easy to dismiss the fascistic ideologues who populate Graham Macklin’s book as reactionary cranks of no significance. It’s also a mistake. Fascists have edged uncomfortably close to the mainstream of British politics ever since the British Union of Fascists was founded in 1932 by Oswald Mosley, who two years earlier had been a government