Arnold Kemp archive

Let The Presses Roll - Alan Taylor

"He was a man you don't meet every day." Literary journalist Alan Taylor remembers Arnold Kemp in a review of the forthcoming anthology 'Confusion to our Enemies'. From the Scottish Review of Books, August 11, 2012. (Note by JK at the end)

‘Like my fellow countrymen,’ he wrote in The Hollow Drum, the only book he published in his lifetime, ‘I am a confused traveller, but I travel hopefully.’ Kemp was writing in 1993 when devolution, let alone independence, seemed a distant prospect. Separatism, as he surmised, was ‘theoretically remote’, not least because of the attitude of Scottish business community who, then as now, were fearful of any change to the status quo. With uncommon prescience, he noted the power of ‘foreign exchange dealers’ and ‘major industrial and commercial enterprises’ and the influence which they exerted over national governments.

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The Hollow Drum

Arnold Kemp's companion to post-war Scottish politics, 'The Hollow Drum', is now available as a Kindle edition from Amazon.The book has been described by Magnus Linklater as "an indispensable guide for students of Scottish politics".

Ireland - land of many welcomes

AS day breaks the storms blow in again from the south-west. From the radio, left on overnight, come the strains of a sonata; heard faintly against the noise of the wind, it sounds like an Aeolian harp, the notes carried as if from a great and mysterious distance.

Later in the day the tourists walk stiffly but resolutely on the beach as the waves roll in from the Atlantic. Behind them the mist clings to the slopes of an elemental landscape of bog and crag.

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'Confusion To Our Enemies'

Selected Journalism of Arnold Kemp (1939-2002) edited by Jackie Kemp. (go to forthcoming titles on for more info).

From the Foreword by Professor Tom Devine: Arnold Kemp, one of the greatest of Scottish journalists and editors of the 20th century, died prematurely at the age of 63 in 2002. He edited The Herald with memorable elan and panache between 1981 and 1994 and his prolific writings also regularly graced the pages of the Scotsman, the Guardian and the Observer in a career which spanned more than four decades from the year he began his first job in journalism in 1959 as a sub-editor on the Scotsman, fresh out of Edinburgh University.

Read more: 'Confusion To Our Enemies'

In Ireland on the introduction of the Euro

 From the Observer, 30 December 2001

The currency may change but life goes on. Ireland, as it prepared for the euro, fell about the Christmas feast as if it hadn't a care in the world. The free-range Wexford turkey was the least of it: the ancestral Irish festive board is not complete without a ham and a hunk of spiced beef as well.

Read more: In Ireland on the introduction of the Euro