A Tory Seer: The Selected Journalism of TE Utley by Charles Moore & Simon Heffer (edd) - review by Tim Clarke

Tim Clarke

Seer On A Seesaw

A Tory Seer: The Selected Journalism of TE Utley


Hamish Hamilton 346pp £15.95 order from our bookshop

From his first article published in the Spectator in 1941 when he was still an undergraduate, to his death last year, Peter Utley lived and wrote by the principles of Toryism. The wisdom of the past, the importance of existing social institutions, of prejudice and the instincts of the ‘amateur’ over the intellectualism of academics.

He wrote books on Enoch Powell and much earlier on Edmund Burke from which, surprisingly in view of his importance to Utley, there is no extract in this selection. But his output was mainly of short leader and commentary pieces. The editors have arranged a selection of 88 of these, written for the Times, the Spectator and the Daily Telegraph under a number of apparently arbitrary headings which include ‘Talking Politics’, ‘Liberty and Licence’ and ‘Forgive our foolish ways’.

In an introduction Enoch Powell predicts that ‘one day someone will cut it up and repaste it together chronologically. The result will be a contribution of the highest quality to the history of post-war Britain’. Not the greatest compliment to the work of the editors perhaps, but indeed one does

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