Politicians who find themselves out of office for a long time or in voluntary retirement are in need of employment. Some go quiet, finding solace in watercolours and golf-clubs. For others, the House of Lords is a consolation. One or two in each generation however, take to writing history. Lord Rosebery dabbled and so did Roy Jenkins. More recently William Hague has had a shot at it, and now Douglas Hurd has entered the game. In this respect, he treads where others have gone before.
In one sense, there is no harm in this kind of outdoor relief. The author’s name will guarantee financial success, and, if care is taken, the public at large may learn something to their advantage. But one caveat has to be firmly entered. Such books must not be confused with