Anthony Julius has two claims to fame which double, in some eyes, as two strikes against him: he wrote a book denouncing the anti-Semitism of T S Eliot, whom a poll lately declared Britain’s favourite poet (presumably his was the first name cat-loving punters thought of), and he represented Princess Diana in her divorce action against Prince Charles.
In the first case, butting against those heavily invested in Eliot bonds, his petulant precision elicited the sighs and winces incurred by an artless PhD which dared to kick against the literary pricks. In the second, he was derided as the Shylockian shyster who was out to squeeze blood from the stony royal family. Even though he was standing up for the people’s princess, he was said by The Daily Telegraph to be ‘less likely [than the royals’ straight-batted advocates] to be constrained by considerations of fair play’. A Cambridge don added, ‘He’ll get lots of money out of them.’ You can expect no fat dividend for guessing which hook-nosed, money-grubbing, too-clever-by-half segment of tolerant, multiracial Britain our author belongs to.
It is no surprise to find that Julius was involved in defending Penguin Books and their American author, Deborah Lipstadt, when, in 2000, David Irving sued them for libel after Lipstadt had labelled him a ‘Holocaust denier’. When that description was held to be incontrovertibly valid and Irving