Sad news

Posted by Helen Friday, December 15, 2006

Just about two weeks ago I asked a mutual acquaintance about Frank Johnson's health and was told that he was as well as can be expected, though counting each week as a blessing. Those blessings have come to an end. This morning, Frank Johnson died at the age of 63 this morning. The words "after an illness bravely borne" have become a bit of a cliche but in this case they are absolutely accurate.

Frank's biography is well-known: the son of an East End pastry cook, he left school with one O-level (reportedly in woodwork) and started his spectacular career as the tea boy on the Sunday Express. After a stint on the Walthamstow Guardian, Liverpool Post and The Sun, he was hired by that prince of all editors, Colin Welch, to be a reporter in the House of Commons on the Daily Telegraph.

He and John O'Sullivan shared the sketch writing, a witty revival of much earlier parliamentary reporting. They also promoted Margaret Thatcher's free-market policies in the late seventies in the teeth of establishment opinion (though they were supported by Colin Welch).

An auto-didact, immensely knowledgeable about history, literature, classical music and other cultural matters, Frank Johnson was a natural conservative but one who is unlikely to be appreciated (despite the undoubted crocodile tears that will flow) by the present Tory-Toff leadership.


Powered by Blogger.




Blog Archive