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Supermac was a super diarist

Regulars | By Gyles Brandreth

Like Harold Macmillan, my hero, I go to bed with a Trollope, says Gyles Brandreth

All my life, I have been making friends with characters I have met in books. When I was very small, I spent hours chatting with the Saucepan Man from Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree. As a teenager, I read Henry Fielding’s great picaresque novel Joseph Andrews, and came to regard Joseph’s good-hearted travelling companion, Parson Adams, almost as a father. And now, embarking on my eighth decade and finding myself reading his diaries for the first time, I have made a new best friend – and quite an unlikely one: the former prime minister Harold Macmillan. I met him once. In the late 1960s, when I was an undergraduate at Oxford (I know I should say, ‘When I was a student at uni’, but I am trying to use the language of the period), I was invited to a tea party at which Supermac (then the University’s Chancellor) was...

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