Tits to Yugoslavia under the impression they were to go to Italy. What he cannot be acquitted of is callousness. Which is shown by a curious coda to the miserable story. Thorpe, like previous biographers, assumes that this was his final farewell to the mountains and lakes of Austria. Nothing, it seems, would have deterred him from flying halfway across the ravaged continent to celebrate the two institutions he loved best, Eton and the Grenadiers.
At the end of dinner, Macmillan was accosted by Rose Price, aflame with drink and an almost Homeric rage, and lambasted for ordering his battalion to send the Cossacks to their death. Dugdale records beautifully how Macmillan, a cigarette drooping from his lips, turned his strangely flappy hands weakened by war wounds outwards in that gesture we came to know so well and replied: What is so striking is that he had no hesitation in returning to the scene of the crime only nine days later.
Certainly the part he played at Suez seems to fit that description. As chancellor, he was desperately keen to establish that the Americans would back Britain in the use of force. He told John Foster Dulles, the secretary of state, the same thing. But Macmillan refused to believe this or to grasp the fairly obvious fact that all Ike cared about was being re-elected in November. Ike was rambling on purpose in his typically devious way. Macmillan just failed to listen. It seems more likely that, if it contained material embarrassing to Macmillan, he destroyed it himself.
But in any case, his fatal contribution to the fiasco had already been made, in Washington in September. Thorpe acquits Macmillan of the charges usually laid against him: Fair enough, but Thorpe also makes light, much too light, of the secret collusion with the Israelis. Then he wheels on the historians Robert Blake and Andrew Roberts to argue that secret diplomacy and suppressio veri are necessary to the successful prosecution of war: This sort of unabashed realpolitik is undermined if not exploded by the final Suez dispatch from the supreme military commander, General Keightley, last seen in Klagenfurt: The gravamen of the charge against Macmillan is different: Which is much what he did again, as prime minister, in gauging whether de Gaulle was ready to let Britain into the Common Market.
As late as their meeting at Rambouillet in December , Macmillan still had high hopes that de Gaulle would yield to his suasions. Macmillan insisted on talking in French and returned from the walk believing that the conversation had gone well. Again, the private secretary was not so sure. Macmillan was shocked and dismayed. Yet anyone with his head screwed on could have seen it coming. Reginald Maudling, then president of the board of trade, had forecast exactly this outcome 18 months earlier, after the failure of the free trade negotiations in Paris.
And Macmillan himself had had repeated meetings with the general over the previous two years at which de Gaulle had made plain his ingrained resistance. He was, quite simply, a magnificent intriguer, opaque when he had to be, brutally swift to jump through any window of opportunity, smashing the glass where necessary.
Macmillan saw off Butler again, just as effortlessly, in the race to succeed himself in As in , he argues, the parliamentary party would not have Rab Butler at any price, and Home was the candidate that fewest people objected to and so the one best qualified to keep the party united. Yet once again Thorpe provides us with the materials to come to a rather different conclusion. Compared to his dithering over the preceding months about whether he should resign, Macmillan moved with great rapidity once his prostate trouble was diagnosed.
The Man in the Woods (The Recapitulation Diaries Book 1) - Kindle edition by J. E. Ketchel. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or . The Man in the Woods: The Recapitulation Diaries [J. E. Ketchel] on domaine-solitude.com . *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. J. E. Ketchel was determined to find out.
The reality was that he was desperately tired and was glad of the medical excuse to pack it in. But he was by no means done for. The lord chancellor, Lord Dilhorne, had asked all the cabinet ministers at the beginning of September whether they wanted Macmillan to carry on and, if he decided not to, who should succeed him; all but three wanted him to carry on, nobody mentioned Home as a successor. Macmillan discusses possible successors with his son Maurice; again no mention of Home. On the afternoon of the 8th he is diagnosed and in the evening taken to hospital. The next morning, the 9th, he talks to Home about the announcement of his resignation and raises, for the first time, the possibility that Home might make himself available.
By the 11th, Lloyd has converted Dilhorne and Martin Redmayne, the chief whip, and is walking along the prom at Blackpool with them, plotting what to do next. It is these two men who are to be responsible for canvassing opinion: Dilhorne doing the cabinet for the second time , and Redmayne the Tory MPs. By Tuesday the 15th, it is agreed that these soundings should include three questions: Then, after Lord Hailsham makes a fool of himself at Blackpool, a fourth is added: It is a dithyramb for Sir Alec, comparing him to the heroic Grenadiers of and lauding his qualities of judgment and selflessness.
He also makes a note in his diary after another meeting with Maurice and the party chairman, Lord Poole: It might have been better if Butler had succeeded Eden in , or even Churchill in The country would undoubtedly have been better governed. There would have been no Suez, no inflationary stampede, no botched attempt to join the EEC but rather a careful development of a European Free Trade Area. Social reform and economic modernisation would have been pursued in a more serious and systematic fashion. It would have been a soberer time, without the showmanship with which Macmillan delighted some and repelled others.
We would not have been told we had never had it so good; but we might have been better off. Alas, the qualities required for being prime minister are not the same as those required for becoming one. Butler had all the charisma of an old flannel. Supermac in his heyday was a class act.
In his later years the satirists got at him, and to the young he was a somewhat moth-eaten comic figure. What was his legacy, after all? Premium Bonds and the Beeching Report. Macmillan said of Eden, quite rightly, that he had been trained to win the Derby of but had not been let out of the stalls until If you change the dates slightly, you could say much the same of Macmillan.
His best years were already behind him when he reached the top at the age of And somewhere at the back of his mind, I think he knew it. Ferdinand Mount questions the basis on which the editor of the second volume of the Macmillan diaries, Peter Catterall, chose to reduce the published text to less than half the length of the original LRB , 8 September.
For anyone who has consulted the manuscript diaries in the Bodleian Library in Oxford, there is a further mystery. As Mount notes, the editor suggests in his introduction that deletions have been made in the interests of reducing the diaries to a reasonable length, not because of the sensitivity of particular passages.
To take some striking examples from the course of just a single year, the following episodes appear, uncensored, in the original manuscripts but not in the published volume:. She wished the Cabinet to agree that her descendants who were not eligible for a royal title would be known by the surname Mountbatten-Windsor. Given some of the rather dull material that has inevitably found its way into the published diaries, it seems unlikely that these passages were deleted because they were not considered of sufficient interest.
The passage from 7 February is particularly powerful. It throws an extraordinary light on the Palace and the Mountbattens … I feel certain that the queen only wishes properly enough to do something to please her husband — with whom she is desperately in love. I shall never forget what she said to me that Sunday night in Sandringham. It is all the more extraordinary, then, that a further level of censorship has apparently been imposed on the published diaries, particularly since some of the passages considered unsuitable for inclusion have already appeared in print.
It undermines confidence in his editorship of the diaries, which in most other respects has been exemplary. One might suspect that he has come under pressure from other quarters. As a result it is becoming increasingly difficult to conduct serious historical research into the role of the British monarchy, even in relation to events that took place half a century ago. I was present at the meeting I was then a sixth-former at Bedford School and my recollection is that, after Macmillan had been droning on for a considerable time, someone shouted out: He stopped, turned to the heckler, and replied: The whole episode was mildly comical and absurd, so another possibility is that Macmillan the diarist may have felt it best forgotten.
Ayer protested, but the statute remained. Boyle raised the issue with Macmillan, himself a former Eton scholar. Within a month it had been repealed.
Log In Register for Online Access. The Life of Harold Macmillan by D. When the facilities manager reprimanded him, he was all bewildered indignation. Before dinner I had tea with Mrs Visser. Her conversation is even more tepid than her tea. I blurted it out without thinking, but she decided it was very sensible of me. She pressed three slices of cake on me when I left, in case my blood sugar went down again. Those slices have found a home in the fish tank on the third floor.
White underpants are excellent for highlighting yellow stains. Yellow underpants would be a lot better.
I have therefore taken to scrubbing the worst stains by hand before sending the washing out. Call it a pre-prewash. It has been a trying day: Not on the pate, at least; it readily sprouts from the nose and ears. You never grow younger, not by a day, nor an hour, not even a minute. Look at me whining and moaning like an old crock. Whingeing is pastime number one down there.
Then a smidgen of Mozart and a large snifter of brandy. It appears that an investigation was launched yesterday into the sudden demise of the fish on the third floor. A considerable amount of cake was found floating in the water. If she should ever hear that the fish died from soggy-cake overdose, the evidence will point straight at me. Evert is an expert in the art of little white lies. Just in case we wanted to keep sharks or white-tailed eagles. The policy has caused a great deal of anguish for poor old biddies mercilessly torn from their dogs or cats when they move into the House of the Setting Sun.
No matter how calm and sedate, old or lame the animals are, rules are rules: Mrs Brinkman holds the record; she managed to hide an old dachshund under the sink for weeks before it was discovered. Someone must have ratted on her.
To have lived through the War, as we all did, and still be so heartless as to turn in a mangy old dog! And instead of tarring and feathering the traitorous collaborator, it was the poor little dog the director deported to the pound! Where it spent the next two days howling pitifully before dying of a broken heart. And where was the SPCA when we needed it? The director thought it best to keep Mrs Brinkman in the dark about this turn of events. When Mrs Brinkman finally managed to catch the right tram to take her to the pound, her dog was already six feet under.
She asked if her dog could be exhumed and laid to rest beside her when her own time comes. A quantity of cake crumbs was found in the fish tank on the third floor. The fish in the tank have died as a result of ingesting said cake. Anyone who is able to shine some light on this incident is kindly requested to report to Mrs De Roos, Floor Manager, as soon as possible. Anonymity honoured upon request. I went to see Mrs De Roos at eleven. What marvellous irony for someone like her to be named after a rose! It would make sense if truly ugly people were extra nice, to compensate, but in this case the opposite is true: I told her I might be able to provide some explanation about the cake incident.
She was immediately all ears.
To my regret I realized that the cake had somehow ended up in the aquarium, and that my blue plate had disappeared. De Roos heard me out with undisguised incredulity. Why the third floor? Was there anyone who could corroborate my story? She then began wondering how Mrs Visser could have baked the cake herself in the first place. He was off sick. Others prefer to call in the air ambulance for every little fart. I have to say I was a bit off my game yesterday because of the dead fish business. In which the three Gs stand for Gossip, Grousing and Gibberish.
Evert stopped by briefly to fill me in through the loo door on the latest: My absence has aroused suspicion. I can usually stand my own smell but this time I was mak- ing myself nauseous. Both literally and metaphorically, for what a calculating piece of chickenshit am I — in this case a rather fitting image. Speaking of fresh air, I really need to get out for a bit.
After a whole day of dry toast and Imodium, I think I might risk venturing outside again. To go and look for the celandine, which — so say both the newspaper and the nature calendar of the Phenological Observation Network another mouthful! Nature is six weeks ahead of herself.
The care home has a lovely garden. But for some inexplicable reason it is locked. In winter no one is allowed in. For our own good, presumably. So if you want some fresh air at this time of year, you have to make do with a stroll round the neighbourhood. Dismal refuse dumps masquerading as strips of grass. You would think that at night the street cleaners roll through the area strewing litter instead of sweeping it up. One has to wade through a sea of tins, empty crisp packets and old newspaper. The people who used to live here have almost all traded their flats for a mod- ern terrace in Purmerend or Almere.
Turkish, Moroccan and West Indian families have moved into the vacated build- ings. It makes for quite a jolly melting pot. My range these days is about metres each way, with a pause on a bench at the halfway mark. The world is shrinking. Starting from here, I can take one of four possible one-kilometre round trips. Evert has just been to see me. He is getting enormous pleas- ure from the kerfuffle surrounding the fish massacre, and has a plan to turn it up a notch.
He wants to mount a second offensive, this time with pink fondant fancies. He thinks the colour will have a more dramatic effect on the water. Yesterday he took the bus to a supermarket a few kilometres down the road specially to obtain a supply. The cakes are now stashed in his cupboard. I asked if he thought they were safe there.
If the oldies are cold, they should simply wear their coats, is the message. There is an Indonesian lady who likes to have her thermostat at 27 degrees. There are bowls of water set out all over her room to increase the humidity. Her tropical plants are thriving.
Mrs Stelwagen is always friendly, ready with a willing ear and an encouraging word for everyone, but concealed beneath that veneer of sympathy is an unhealthy dose of self-importance and power lust.