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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Dear Bill...

We'd been pursuing Bill Deedes for Word to the Wise ever since Word launched. It had to be postponed for a variety of reasons, all of which were politely explained. Lord Deedes was not in the best of health. Lord Deedes was flying to some war-torn trouble spot to report for the Telegraph. And now it won't happen at all, which is a shame.
Deedes couldn't go to university in the thirties because his family lost all their money in the crash. He became a journalist instead and was packed off to the Abyssinian war at the age of 23. Like Richard Stott and Frank Johnson, who also died within the last year, he was a representative of that group of people who rose to become the editors of national newspapers without going to university. It's difficult to argue that they were any the less cultured as a consequence and the fact that they knew something about life beyond Soho and Westminster probably meant that they were better at their jobs.
The "edukashun-edukashun-edukashun" project means that even the guy writing the dog racing column for the Daily Star is probably a graduate now. I was recently told of the daughter of a friend who has just read English at Oxford and is now writing stories about weight loss for a weekly celebrity magazine. There would be nothing wrong in this if it wasn't her dream job.