The Hugo Young Papers: Thirty Years of British Politics - off the record

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Penguin UK, Nov 18, 2008 - Literary Collections - 880 pages
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Hugo Young was one of Britain’s leading journalists for over thirty years, first on the Sunday Times, where he was political editor and deputy editor, and then as the Guardian’s senior political commentator. On his death in 2003 he was called ‘the Pope of the liberal left’, but for the last decade or more of his life there was really no more admired and respected journalist in any position on the political spectrum.

One of the secrets of Young’s success as a journalist was that he was exceptionally well informed. Politicians from every major party, senior civil servants, judges and public figures of all kinds talked to him off the record, discussions which then informed the judgements he made when he wrote. Most of his interlocutors were unaware that straight after their telephone conversation, meal or meeting with Young had finished, he meticulously wrote down exactly what had been said, together with his own immediate impressions of whoever he was talking to.

By 2003, Young’s records from such conversations amounted to a million and a half words. From this extraordinary archive Ion Trewin, who knew Young since they were colleagues in the 1960s, has made a selection which presents a unique record of what many of the leading figures in British political and public life were thinking, frankly and without the distortions of hindsight, for more than three decades. The result is one of the most gripping and informative books about British politics published for many years. Young’s first interviewee, Douglas Hurd, later Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary, and one of his regulars for the whole of the period of this book, judged him thus: ‘His success was partly achieved by creating a conversation between two people roughly equal in status and knowledge. His own preconception sometimes appeared, as is natural in a conversation between equals, but never in a way which interrupted the even flow of discourse. He did not distort what he heard.’

The Hugo Young Papers shows Young’s central place in the nexus between politics and journalism in Britain and provides a historical document of the first rank.

  

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Contents

Acknowledgements
Abbreviations
Foreword by Harold Evans
Foreword by Alan Rusbridger
Introduction
Cast of Interviewees
PART ONE
DOUGLAS HURD1
NEIL KINNOCK
GORDON BROWN
JOHN LORD HARRIS
MICHAEL PORTILLO
PADDY ASHDOWN
MICHAEL PALLISER
MICHAEL ANCRAM
MARGARET THATCHER

1970
WILLIAM WHITELAW
MICHAEL FRASER
JOHN BIFFEN
JOHN BIFFEN
TONY BENN
1971
PRIVATE NOTES ON WILSON MEMOIRS
1972
1973
BRW1
A GOOD GOVERNMENT SOURCE1
1974
LEN MURRAY
AL2
LORD WINDLESHAM
LORD HAILSHAM
NORMAN ATKINSON
SHIRLEY WILLIAMS
TONY BENN
CHRIS PATTEN2
1975
DOUGLAS HURD
IAN GILMOUR
DAVID MARQUAND
TOM MCCAFFREY
DIPAK NANDY
HAROLD WILSON WITH JOE HAINES
LORD THOMSON LUNCH FOR HAROLD WILSON
1976
NIGEL LAWSON1
JAMES PRIOR
LORD ROBENS
MICK MCGAHEY
WILLIAM WHITELAW
LORD CARRINGTON
JOE HAINES
IAN GILMOUR
HE to HUGO YOUNG cc ANTONY WHITAKER in part
MARK SCHREIBER
WILLIAM WHITELAW
JIM PRIOR
WILLIAM ARMSTRONG
RONALD MCINTOSH
LEN MURRAY
WILLIAM WALDEGRAVE
EDWARD HEATH TO HAROLD EVANS
MICHAEL WOLFF
KENNETH BAKER
LORD CAMPBELL OF CROY
FRANK FIGGURES
JOE GORMLEY
A CIVIL SERVANT2
JOHN DAVIES
JEREMY THORPE
CHRIS PATTEN
ADAM RIDLEY
POUND NOTES
1977
TONY BENN
FRANCIS PYM
DOUGLAS HURD
EDWARD HEATH
JO GRIMOND
JOE HAINES
CHRIS PATTEN
ERIC VARLEY
CHRIS PATTEN
1978
GEOFFREY HOWE
TONY BENN
LORD HARRIS
SHUFFLE MUSINGS HY HIMSELF no date
WILLIAM RODGERS
1979
ANDREW ROWE
MARK CARLISLE
HAYDEN PHILLIPS
WILLIAM RODGERS
PART TWO
CHRIS PATTEN
FRANCIS PYM
IAN GILMOUR
DAVID OWEN
DAVID MARQUAND
SHIRLEY WILLIAMS
MARGARET THATCHER
JAMES PRIOR
BERNARD DONOUGHUE
JAMES PRIOR
IAN GILMOUR
FRANCIS PYM
1981
BILL SIRS
FRANK CHAPPLE
RUPERT MURDOCH LUNCH FOR GANG OF FOUR
JOHN BIFFEN
1982
RICHARD HOLME
JAMES PRIOR
LORD CHIEF JUSTICE LANE
LORD ELWYNJONES
MEMORANDUM FROM HAROLD EVANS
HY TO HAROLD EVANS
LETTER FROM PETER PRESTON
NEIL KINNOCK1
A SENIOR MINISTER CABINET
KEN LIVINGSTONE
WILLIAM WHITELAW
MRS T AT No 10
1983
DENIS HEALEY
FRANCIS PYM
JOHN BIFFEN
PATRICK MAYHEW
1984
GERALD KAUFMAN
DAVID STEEL
NEIL KINNOCK
DAVID OWEN
MICHAEL SPICER
DICK TAVERNE
SHIRLEY WILLIAMS
1985
ROBIN COOK
TONY BENN
NEIL KINNOCK
DAVID OWEN
MALCOLM RIFKIND
DOUGLAS HURD
1986
JOHN BIFFEN
DOUGLAS HURD
CHRIS PATTEN
JOHN BIFFEN
WILLIAM WHITELAW
IAN GILMOUR
MICHAEL MATES3
WILLIAM WALDEGRAVE
CHRIS PATTEN
GEOFFREY HOWE
DAVID STEEL
NORMAN ST JOHNSTEVAS
IAN GILMOUR
KENNETH BAKER
PETER SHORE
PATRICIA HEWITT
BOB WORCESTER
WILLIAM WALDEGRAVE
BERNARD DONOUGHUE
JOHN BIFFEN
WILLIAM WALDEGRAVE
1987
PATRICK MAYHEW
JOHN MOORE
JOHN PATTEN
BRYAN GOULD
WILLIAM WHITELAW
RENEE SHORT
DAVID OWEN
JOHN BIFFEN
DES WILSON
WILLIAM WALDEGRAVE
DOUGLAS HURD
CHRIS PATTEN
1988
JONATHAN AITKEN
ALISTAIR MCALPINE
GEOFFREY HOWE
ELIE KEDOURIE
NEIL KINNOCK
ALAN BEITH
FRANK COOPER
MICHAEL HESELTINE
1989
CHRIS PATTEN
JOHN SMITH
SIMON BROWN
1990
NEIL KINNOCK
MICHAEL HESELTINE
DOUGLAS HURD
GORDON BROWN
CHRIS PATTEN
ROGER TOMKYS
MICHAEL MATES
ALAN CLARK
PART THREE
ALAN CLARK ON THE GULF
ALAN CLARK
DOUGLAS HURD
CHRIS PATTEN
SIR GEOFFREY HOWE
DOUGLAS HURD
CHRIS PATTEN
RAYMOND SEITZ
NORMAN LAMONT
CHRIS PATTEN
1992
JOHN GUMMER
CHRIS PATTEN
ROBIN COOK
DAVID OWEN
DOUGLAS HURD
CHRIS PATTEN
TRISTAN GARELJONES
SIR PETER KEMP
GARETH WILLIAMS BAR CHAIRMAN
JOHN BIFFEN
MALCOLM RIFKIND
MAURICE KOGAN
1993
RAYMOND SEITZ
GORDON BROWN
ROBERT JACKSON
DOUGLAS HURD
TRISTAN GARELJONES
PADDY ASHDOWN
FRANCIS CORNISH
CHRIS PATTEN
DOUGLAS HURD
JOHN SMITH
WILLIAM WALDEGRAVE
RAYMOND SEITZ
DAVID STEEL
SALMAN RUSHDIE
1994
MICHAEL HESELTINE
JOHN BIFFEN
JAMES CORNFORD
BILL MORRIS
HUGH DYKES
DOUGLAS HURD
MICHAEL PORTILLO
JOHN BIFFEN
CHRISTOPHER MEYER
GORDON BROWN
PETER LILLEY
CONRAD BLACK
EDDIE GEORGE
DAVID HUNT
DOUGLAS HURD
PADDY ASHDOWN
JOHN PRESCOTT
WILLIAM WALDEGRAVE
TRISTAN GAREL JONES
CHRIS PATTEN
DOUGLAS HURD
1995
DOUGLAS HURD
MICHAEL PORTILLO
MICHAEL PORTILLO
STEPHEN DORRELL
DOUGLAS HURD
PADDY ASHDOWN
PADDY ASHDOWN
GORDON BROWN
1996
STEPHEN DORRELL
MICHAEL PORTILLO
ROBIN COOK
DAVID BLUNKETT
PETER LILLEY
MICHAEL HESELTINE
JOHN BIFFEN
PRINCESS DIANA
DAVID MADEL
TONY WRIGHT
TRISTAN GAREL JONES
DONALD DEWAR
DANIEL FINKELSTEIN
ROBIN COOK
RICHARD HOLME
WILLIAM WALDEGRAVE
JOHN GUMMER
SIR JAMES GOLDSMITH
ROBIN RENWICK
VIRGINIA BOTTOMLEY
GORDON BROWN
NORMAN LAMONT
JOHN MAJOR
JanuaryApril 1997
ANTHONY LESTER
DAVID BLUNKETT
ROBERT MACLENNAN
ROY JENKINS
WILLIAM WALDEGRAVE
LIB DEM DINING CLUB
PART FOUR
PADDY ASHDOWN
ROBERT MACLENNAN
IAN TAYLOR
ANJI HUNTER
ROBIN COOK
ALAN BUDD
CHRIS PATTEN
DAVID MADEL
ANTHONY LESTER
GORDON BROWN
1998
ALASTAIR CAMPBELL
FRANK FIELD
LODE WILLEMS
SCENES FROM THE HELMUT KOHL FREEDOM OF THE CITY
DAVID PUTTNAM
PADDY ASHDOWN
LODE WILLEMS
FRANK FIELD
JOHN KERR
ROBIN COOK
ALAN DUNCAN
GORDON BROWN
PADDY ASHDOWN
DAVID MILIBAND
MICHAEL PORTILLO
JONATHAN POWELL
1999
DANIEL BERNARD
RICHARD HOLME
WILLIAM HAGUE
DAVID MILIBAND
GEORGES BERTHOIN
GORDON BROWN
ALASTAIR CAMPBELL
MICHAEL PAKENHAM
ROGER LIDDLE
JOHN KERR
GORDON BROWN
CHRIS PATTEN
PHILIP GOULD
DAVID MILIBAND
MICHAEL ANCRAM
DAY AT CHEVENING FOREIGN SECRETARYS OFFICIAL RESIDENCE
JOHN MONKS
NICK SPARROW
JOHN KERRROGER LIDDLE
FOCUS GROUP
ALASTAIR CAMPBELL
LODE WILLEMS
ROGER LIDDLE
LODE WILLEMS
2000
ALASTAIR CAMPBELL AND PETER MANDELSON
NEIL KINNOCK
ED BALLS
JOHN KERR
MO MOWLAM
JOHN DE CHASTELAIN
A BLAIR NOTE
DAVID MILIBAND
ROBIN COOK
ANDREW LANSLEY
JOHN STEVENS
GEOFF HOON
PHILIP GOULD
ADAM BOULTON
JOHN MONKS
ROGER LIDDLE
NOTE TO SELF ON TONY BLAIR
HANS FRIEDRICH VON PLOETZ
DAVID MILIBAND
DAVID CURRY
MICHAEL PAKENHAM
SIR RICHARD WILSON
PHILIP GOULD
DAVID MILIBAND
PETER HAIN
ALASTAIR MORTON
ROY DENMAN
DAVID MILIBAND
MICHAEL PORTILLO
GORDON BROWN
LEON BRITTAN
2001
ROGER LIDDLE
CHRIS PATTEN
JOHN MONKS
NORMAN LAMONT
ROGER LIDDLE
DAVID BLACKBURN
ROBIN COOK
DAVID MILIBAND
ROGER LIDDLE
MoD BRIEFING ON NMD
ED BALLS
JOHN STEVENS
GORDON BROWN AND ED BALLS
HENRY KISSINGER1
JOHN STEVENS
CHRIS PATTEN
LEON BRITTAN
FRANCIS RICHARDS
CLUB OF THREE1
PHILIP STEPHENS
JOHN BIFFEN
JOHN STEVENS
TESSA JOWELL
ROBIN COOK
CHARLES CLARKE
DAVID MILIBAND
JOHN STEVENS
DAVID CURRY
HANSFRIEDRICH VON PLOETZ
HANSFRIEDRICH VON PLOETZ
ROGER LIDDLE
JAMES HOGE
HENRY KISSINGER
ROBERT HUNTER
JOHN KERR
LODE WILLEMS
JACQUES CHIRAC
JOHN KERR
GORDON BROWN
LODE WILLEMS
2002
ROY DENMAN
PETER HAIN
GARETH WILLIAMS
SIR STEPHEN LANDER
MICHAEL PAKENHAM
JOHN STEVENS
JOHN NEWHOUSE
LODE WILLEMS
JOHN NEWHOUSE
MAJORGENERAL CHARLES VYVYAN
JEREMY KINSMAN
PETER RICKETTS
PHILIP GOULD
ALASTAIR CAMPBELL
LODE WILLEMS
DENIS MACSHANE
JOHN STEVENS
DENIS MACSHANE
IAIN DUNCAN SMITH
GÉ RARD ERRERA
FRANK MILLER
JEREMY GREENSTOCK
RICHARD HOLME
CONRAD RUSSELL
2003
CHRIS PATTEN
FROM LODE WILLEMS
FROM STEPHEN WALL TO LODE WILLEMS
FROM LODE WILLEMS TO STEPHEN WALL
GÉRARD ERRERA
THOMAS MATUSSEK
GORDON BROWN
ANTHONY LESTER
CHERIE BLAIR
Index
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2008)

Hugo Young was for over three decades the deputy editor of the Sunday Times and political editor of the Guardian.

Ion Trewin is the editor of the Alan Clark Diaries and is currently writing Alan Clark’s biography for publication in 2009. After a decade as literary editor of The Times, he became a publisher, retiring recently as editor-in-chief of a London publishing house.

Bibliographic information