Tim Stanley

Born to Rule

A Different Kind of Weather: A Memoir

By

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William Waldegrave’s memoir is a textbook example of how the upper-middle-class Englishman should review his life: with candour, honesty and humour. A personal secretary to Ted Heath and minister in the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major, he writes that the purpose of his book is to explain ‘what it felt like’ to be so close to political power. Close, that is, but no cigar. About his failure to obtain what every aristocratic Tory thinks is his birthright – the keys to Number 10 – Waldegrave is amusingly, blackly comic. He wonders if assassination by the IRA in the 1990s might have elevated him. The newspapers surely would’ve speculated that he had been foreign secretary material? ‘There is something to be said, reputationally, for being cut off when still full of promise.’

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