Peregrine Worsthorne 1923-2020: RIP

Noted 20th century journalist Peregrine Worsthorne has died at the age of 97. He was an admirer and chronicler of the aristocracy. Waugh shared some of his admiration but also satirized the upper classes. In Worsthorne’s case, he was more likely to be the subject of satire rather than its author. Here are some excerpts from the obituary in The Independent newspaper, which describes his:

… career as an eminent contrarian. First as a columnist and then as editor of The Sunday Telegraph, Worsthorne taunted the left and encouraged the Conservative Party to remain loyal to the concept of a ruling class. He could be naive, sometimes charming, and often funny, particularly when he took to the road. He wrote memorable accounts of journeys to California, Scotland and Australia, which were collected in an amusing book titled Peregrinations; Alan Watkins said fondly that on his travels Worsthorne appeared to be a combination of Lord Curzon and Mr Pooter. […]

He was sent to school at Stowe, where he behaved like a snob and posed as a Roman Catholic bigot. He confessed that, had he gone to a Catholic school, he might well have championed Protestantism. […] His war was spent in Phantom, an intelligence unit advancing into Germany. Worsthorne was recruited, like a character in Evelyn Waugh’s War Trilogy, at the bar of White’s Club. He said that war sorted out the men from the boys and that he himself had not yet discovered into which category he fell. […]
His first proper job was at The Times, where he felt he belonged. He was sent to Washington DC as deputy to The Times’s correspondent. Worsthorne took the Republican Party seriously. In 1952, when most of his colleagues were dazzled by the intelligent liberalism of Adlai Stevenson, Worsthorne accurately forecast a win for Dwight Eisenhower. He also had sympathetic words to say about Senator Joe McCarthy. He thought that Westminster could also benefit from a dose of anti-communism.
Worsthorne soon found himself reporting from Ottawa instead of Washington. Although staunchly anticommunist, Waugh did not fall for McCarthy’s brand of witch-hunting politics, as he explained in a 1960 article in The Spectator. Despite the urging of William F Buckley Jr (a McCarthy apologist), Waugh never wavered in his opposition.
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