18 August 2007

Deedes - a gentleman, a scholar

Lord Deedes [From The Daily Telegraph]On the day that we learn of the passing of Lord Deedes, an extraordinary journalist and commentator, I am struck by the chasm between his history of words, and the likely words of Tony Blair.

Whilst Bill Deedes is proven beyond compare as a writer of eloquence, insightfulness, and care, we are now faced with a bidding war over the memoirs of an ex-prime minister whose sought-for 'legacy' failed to materialise in reality, and therefore now needs to be created in a fact-fiction collaboration.

Is it really necessary for us all to relive once again the past ten years of presidential presumption, and the side-lining of parliament? Are we likely to learn anything more than some insider gossip of a government that perpetuates the myth that legislation changes hearts and minds? And does the UK really benefit from the previous prime minister, from a now un-elected and un-accountable position, writing about important events that are bound to include the current prime minister, and based on their stormy relationships, in a possibly not too rosy light?

I'm unconvinced, (as you might be able to tell), about the appeal of such memoirs. I'd much rather be directed to a file of articles by W F Deedes, from which I am likely to learn much more about political institutions, leadership - and the manners of a gentleman and a scholar.