Whispers in Downing Street

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

The biggest gap in the biographies of many prime ministers concerns their use of intelligence. Histories of the postwar Labour government, for example, give no hint that Clement Attlee, at his own request, had far more private meetings with the director-general of MI5 than any other 20th-century prime minister. Books on the Blair years, by contrast, show much

Nice Work If You Can Get It

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Outsourcing is everywhere these days. The contracting out of public services to private-sector companies is a familiar mechanism that’s broadly understood to be in the interests of cost-saving, administrative efficiency and innovation. Yet it is also one that often leaves an unpleasant taste in the mouth. Even those who argue – as I have certainly […]

Anxiety of Influence

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Tom Fletcher CMG was foreign policy spin doctor to Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron between 2007 and 2011 before becoming British ambassador to Lebanon, where he served until 2015. ‘I’ve learned a huge amount from this job,’ he writes. ‘If I’m honest, I’m completely knackered. It’s been a demanding posting.’ Fletcher has since […]

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