Francis Beckett


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.

There’s a lot of cross baby boomers out there, harrumphing at my betrayal of my own generation in my new book, What Did the Baby Boomers Ever Do For Us?

Former Chief Inspector of Schools Chris Woodhead has called for children to be taught literature uncritically.

Question: What sort of educator writes: "Who cares what they [schoolchildren] think or feel"?

Answer: Chris Woodhead in the current Sunday Times.

If you think Prime Ministers are getting younger, it’s not because you’re getting older. They are getting younger. Tony Blair in 1997, aged 44, was the youngest Prime Minister since 1812, and David Cameron was a year younger than Blair when he entered Number Ten.

There's a cheering amount of controversy around my new book, What Did the Baby Boomers Ever Do For Us?

Baby boomers tend to think I'm a traitor to my generation. The young feel I've confirmed their long-felt grievances. Neither of them are quite right.

A couple of academics have become very excited about their "discovery" that the National Union of Mineworkers took money from Communist bloc countries during the 1984-5 miners' strike.

There's a detailed account of the movement of Soviet money in Marching to the Fault Line by me and David Hencke, published a couple of years ago by Constable and Robinson.


The Evening Standard has a remarkably thoughtful and perspicacious columnist called Rosamund Urwin who last night wrote "...Francis Beckett in his brilliant new book, What Did the Baby Boomers Ever Do for Us?, which is launched today."