Francis Beckett

William Hague's strange troubles reminded me of the misunderstanding that arose when, in the days we were both national officials of the NUJ, Jake Ecclestone and I told our Norwich hotel that we wished to share a room. How to Teach by Phil Beadle, just out from Crown House Publishing.

We're told that, whatever you say about Tony Blair, he did make Labour electable. But he didn't.  There isn't even that.

Here's my last word in the Blair controversy.  Greg Dyke, once an enthusiastic Blair supporter, ended his 2004 autobiography Inside Story, with these words, which can't be bettered:

The Independent's John Rentoul struggles, he writes on his blog, to understand "the socio-psychology of Blair rage."  Which shows how living for years in the Westminster village can make the real world look very strange.

Spent this Sunday morning doing a live BBC1 programme called Sunday Morning Live, and found myself engaged in a surprisingly bad-tempered battle of the biographers with fellow Blair biographer John Rentoul, which took a rather odd and disturbing turn.

An odd day yesterday.  To the Department of Education for a long, relaxed interview with the new Education Secretary, Michael Gove, whom I'm profiling for the New Statesman; then along to the Fire Brigades Union rally at the TUC for London firefighters.


With three other freelance hacks, I listened last night to the episode of Ed Reardon's Week where he chairs a stupid panel game called Cheese Cricket.  And we all thought: how does the BBC run this magnificantly accurate account of the way it behaves, and not consider changing its behaviour?

History, my old history teacher Dr Warren used to say, is what one historian copies from another. I see the story that Hitler fought bravely for his country in the first world war and was admired by his comrades, has just been exploded in a new book by Dr Thomas Weber of Aberdeen University.  The myth lasted nigh on a century - because it's what Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf.


And I'm sorry to see the myth that Oswald Mosley was not really very anti-Semitic is repeated in an otherwise excellent book about the Greene family (Shades of Greene by Jeremy Lewis).

The decline of education journalism is worse than I thought.  Last week’s TES led with an important story about how Michael Gove is taking money from schools’ technology budgets to finance his free schools.  And not a single national paper picked it up.