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The most extraordinary thing about this recording of Alan Clark’s diaries is the author’s own voice. Those who have read his chronicle of life as a Conservative MP and minister in the government of Margaret Thatcher will have developed a strong impression of his character. So how strange it is to hear that Clark sounded much less like a Jim Hacker or a Francis Urquhart and much more like Kenneth Williams. Yes—that Kenneth Williams. For, extraordinary though it may be, Clark, and there is no other way to put this, did not sound especially posh. Or at least not as much as might be expected. His voice is high and nasal, his vowels ringing out with an almost estuarine twang.
But then Clark was always a contrarian. A high Tory, with estates in Scotland and Sussex, he was also a vegetarian who didn’t allow hunting on his land. A staunch right-winger, he quite openly said that he liked the L…