A stylish survey of all our prime ministers

At the start of his career as a journalist in the mid-1980s, Andrew Gimson regretted the absence of a book that enabled the reader to gain a clear impression quickly of all Britain’s prime ministers. He has now written such a book. Alistair Lexden’s review of it follows.

School Partnerships in music

On 18 October, the Lords held an important debate on the state of music education in schools. Speaker after speaker expressed grave concern about the decline of the teaching and performance of music in our state schools. In most independent schools music continues to flourish.

Ted Heath - let down by a Tory Government

A year has now passed since the Wiltshire police brought to an end their much-criticised investigation of child sex abuse allegations against Sir Edward Heath, known as Operation Conifer. Seven unsubstantiated allegations were left unresolved.

Thatcher's law

On October 6, The Times reported that “councils across the country are seeking to evade scrutiny by restricting media access to meetings”.

A money-making Gladstone

Despite having a wealthy father, William Gladstone was never a rich man. The Hawarden estate in Flintshire, which came into his family through his wife, was unprofitable for years.

Baldwin the builder

It is widely thought, particularly in the Conservative Party, that Disraeli made life significantly better for ordinary people in the late nineteenth century. This is a myth. It was Stanley Baldwin who committed the Conservatives to far-reaching social reform, as his record on housing shows.

Death rather than dishonour

A letter published in The Times on September 26 contained the amusing story of a Tory MP, Sir Walter Bromley-Davenport, who, when taken ill in the Commons, brushed aside an offer of assistance from a well-known Labour MP who was a doctor, saying “I would rather die.” Alistair Lexden capped that w

One Nation - yet another correction

People constantly get the origin of the term ‘one nation’ wrong. Alistair Lexden has corrected the mistake in the press on many occasions. He did so again in a letter published in The Spectator on 22 September under the amusing headline ‘Stan’s laurel’.

The Presbyterian Queen

There was a reference in The Daily Telegraph on 3 September to the connection between the Royal Family and Crathie Kirk, near Balmoral which Queen Victoria started in 1848.