People

Michael Heseltine

THE class politician is recognisable, among other things, by his ability to improvise. It is a necessary gift not just in the bearpit of the Commons at question time. There are moments, too, when a speech has to be discarded or radically adjusted at the last minute.

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Nelson Mandela

NELSON Mandela joins us for a working breakfast though, at 8am, he has already eaten. He does not look his 75 years, and he speaks to the journalists, with energy and conviction, for more than an hour. Our breakfast sits unnoticed on the side table.

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Alex Salmond renounces SNP leadership

  • From The Observer, Sunday 28 January 2001
  • Somewhere at home I have a collection of tapes of political interviews dating from the early 1990s. I have always meant to listen to them again, not for their substance but for the eccentric extraneous noises.

    Interruptions by waiters have a deadly effect on anecdotes; they are always perfectly timed to ruin the punch-line. The chatter and laughter of fellow diners constitute other hazards.

    Read more: Alex Salmond renounces SNP leadership

Alex Salmond renounces SNP leadership in 2001

  • From The Arnold Kemp Archives:  Observer, Sunday 28 January 2001
  • Somewhere at home I have a collection of tapes of political interviews dating from the early 1990s. I have always meant to listen to them again, not for their substance but for the eccentric extraneous noises.

    Interruptions by waiters have a deadly effect on anecdotes; they are always perfectly timed to ruin the punch-line. The chatter and laughter of fellow diners constitute other hazards.

    Read more: Alex Salmond renounces SNP leadership in 2001

Henry McLeish's resignation as First Minister

  • The Observer, Sunday 27 January 2002 01.46 GMT
  • Article history
  • There is a school of newspaper writers who believe in adding culinary detail in order to satisfy the dictum of the great American journalist A.J. Liebling, who said that the first duty of the reporter was to convince the reader that he was there.

    In the heyday of the Sunday Times Insight team, a great deal of manpower was expended on what was called the theory of corroborative detail. A friend recalls phoning the butler at the Hirsel in 1963 to establish just what Alec Douglas-Home had for breakfast on the morning he received the call to lead the Tories.

    Read more: Henry McLeish's resignation as First Minister