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Christopher Booker Has Passed Away

July 3, 2019

Sadly news has come that Christopher Booker has passed away following a short illness.

 

I will leave others to write obituaries, such as the Telegraph’s, unfortunately behind a paywall:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/obituaries/2019/07/03/christopher-booker-campaigning-journalist-first-editor-private/

 

I will simply say that a great journalist is no longer with us, one who it has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with for the last four years.

 

I will even miss those early morning phone calls, “Is he up yet, Sheila?”

 

Thank you, Christopher. You will not be forgotten.

44 Comments
  1. Paul Crook permalink
    July 3, 2019 6:27 pm

    I have closely followed Christopher Bookers writings since 1975.
    He was a great source of balanced and researched information.
    Thankfully as this site provided a lot of information in his later years, I can still access the truth.
    Paul Crook

  2. Bertie permalink
    July 3, 2019 6:38 pm

    R.I.P. _ and rise in glory – Christopher. Very sad news. A journalistic legend. Let us hope that all his work is not in vain.

  3. Dick Goodwin permalink
    July 3, 2019 6:39 pm

    Such sad news, a wonderful man who had such a vision to the future and was able to see the wood for the trees. You have to wonder why people likeChristopher never seem to be these highly paid consultants the Government relies so heavily on for their advice. Maybe the truth isn’t what they are after in the first place. Thanks for notifying Paul.

  4. Mike A permalink
    July 3, 2019 6:42 pm

    We all knew it was coming, but as always a jolt. Irreplaceable.

  5. Matelot 65 permalink
    July 3, 2019 6:44 pm

    RIP Christopher.

  6. Athelstan. permalink
    July 3, 2019 7:16 pm

    Bless you dearly Christopher, it is a better place that you now journey to, it’s a very, very sad day for us fellow realists though.

    RIP Mr. Christopher Booker.

  7. July 3, 2019 7:18 pm

    Thanks and rest in peace Christopher Booker … and regrettably, once again the sanity cause has lost a strong voice.

  8. Vernon E permalink
    July 3, 2019 7:19 pm

    As a Private Eye subscriber for well over thirty years I can’t imagine who can replace him. RIP, thanks and years and years of admiration.

  9. richardw permalink
    July 3, 2019 7:20 pm

    A great polymath, a great intellectual adventurer, and a true Renaissance man. The world is poorer for his loss.

  10. Dunc. permalink
    July 3, 2019 7:30 pm

    Might as well cancel my Private Eye sub now, the last vestige of sanity in that magazine has gone.

  11. Bloke down the pub permalink
    July 3, 2019 7:33 pm

    Sorry to hear of his passing. It was Christopher’s column in the Sunday Telegraph where I first heard of disputes over the climate change meme. He had a piece on the alternative reasons for snow disappearing from Mt Kilimanjiro as reported by Anthony Watts. I followed the link to WUWT and that was me hooked.

    • A man of no rank permalink
      July 3, 2019 8:27 pm

      Christopher’s articles were the main reason we bought the Sunday Telegraph. His coverage of the actions of the secret family courts, in our country, were truly heartbreaking.
      RIP Chris.

    • Rowland P permalink
      July 4, 2019 9:12 am

      Ditto!

  12. MrGrimNasty permalink
    July 3, 2019 8:03 pm

    One less real journalist, another lost voice for truth, what can you say – except that unlike so many lick-spittles and money-grabbers, he tried to do the right thing. He may have retired already but he will be even more sorely missed now.

  13. Alex Quinn permalink
    July 3, 2019 8:08 pm

    Sad, very sad 😞

  14. The Man at the Back permalink
    July 3, 2019 8:18 pm

    Christopher has already been sadly missed these last few weeks. So sad to hear he has gone. Condolences to his family.

    He was not only a rare voice of sanity on the subject of climate and energy policy, but for me the abuses of the family courts that he highlighted were just as important.

    RIP Christopher Booker

  15. July 3, 2019 8:32 pm

    Sad news. Rip 😢

  16. Malcolm Bell permalink
    July 3, 2019 8:36 pm

    All the above, many times over,

    Thank you Sir. The world is now a poorer place.

  17. July 3, 2019 8:39 pm

    Christopher Booker is a great loss to investigative journalism. No matter what he wrote about – mainly the corrupt EU, the corrupt UN and the climate change scam; but of course there were countless other issues – you knew he was telling the truth, unlike most journalists today. There are one or two exceptions, James Delingpole and David Rose come to mind.

    Christopher, you will be greatly missed. RIP.

  18. James L. Neill permalink
    July 3, 2019 8:40 pm

    As others have said so too with me. Mr Booker could put the case over for “climate scepticism” with convincing argument. I would not say RIP but “Nunc vade in pacem” or :-

    “Now walk in peace” free from the ills and problems of this world.

    As his light has been extinguished is it not our turn and duty to carry on his work not because we have to but because we choose to as we share in his beliefs?

  19. Harry Passfield permalink
    July 3, 2019 8:47 pm

    Paul: Has my mentioning some unmentionable names (trolls) caused my earlier comment t be binned?

  20. Roy Andrews permalink
    July 3, 2019 9:00 pm

    A voice of reason has been lost and will be so hard to replace. Thank you for your wonderful journalism Christopher, RIP.

  21. HotScot permalink
    July 3, 2019 9:03 pm

    Fare thee well Christopher.

    “Alas! they had been friends in youth;
    But whispering tongues can poison truth:
    And Constancy lives in realms above;
    And Life is thorny; and youth is vain:
    And to be wroth with one we love,
    Doth work like madness in the brain;”

    Byron.

  22. Robin Guenier permalink
    July 3, 2019 9:04 pm

    Sad news. RIP Christopher Booker.

  23. July 3, 2019 10:05 pm

    Very sad news RIP Sir, you will be sadly missed!

  24. CheshireRed permalink
    July 3, 2019 10:52 pm

    Very sorry to hear this news, but as others have said it’s not a surprise.

    His Telegraph column became must-read for me, the first thing I turned to on a Sunday.

    I recall how one of his very best articles online – about mass climate data manipulation that Paul has also highlighted so well, gained over 30,000 BTL reader comments. An incredible number. (May even have been nearer 40k, can’t remember tbh)

    May he RIP.

  25. Doug Holman permalink
    July 3, 2019 11:15 pm

    We have just lost a hero, a maverick willing to challenge the arrogance of unaccountable organisations by exposing the group-think, egotism and ignorance that sustain them.

  26. Graeme No.3 permalink
    July 4, 2019 12:17 am

    A sad but not unexpected loss. Sadly missed.

  27. aiyars permalink
    July 4, 2019 4:18 am

    I read of this with a heavy heart. Christopher Booker aas a great advocate for justice for parents with children wrongly taken by Social Services in Britain. An irreplaceable loss to our cause. For years he wrote, week upon week, the stories of children snatched from loving families for no good reason by the state, of parents betrayed by lawyers and social workers, grandparents punished just for wanting to see their grandchildren, immigrants denied the right to even speak in their mother tongue to their taken children at “supervised” contact sessions in grim council offices and pregnant women sectioned by social workers and courts and made to undergo forced c-sections for their babies to be handed over to waiting adopters. Christopher Booker bore witness to this litany of horrors in the name of child protection and diligently reported it to the world. In an age where journalists and intellectuals compete to show their allegience to the recieved wisdom of the time, he stood out as a journalist and free thinker who took up the cause of welfare class parents with taken children who are among the smallest, meanest and most forgotten of all people in the world. May Christopher Booker rest in peace in heaven with the god he served so well here on earth.

  28. Don B permalink
    July 4, 2019 4:28 am

    An important legacy of Booker’s, which is likely to be read for decades from now, is his report on Global Warming and groupthink.

    Click to access Groupthink.pdf

  29. Mack permalink
    July 4, 2019 5:51 am

    Very sad news indeed. One of the finest investigative journalists of his generation but so much more than that. He was a great student of literature, history, music and wit with a deep sense of integrity and fair play which, undoubtedly, inspired much of his writing. I was fortunate enough to meet him many moons ago during an investigation into local government corruption and was hugely impressed by his intellect and zeal and became an instant disciple of all of his work. Certainly here, on the skeptical side of the climate debate, we have lost a true champion and a rare voice of knowledge, sanity and eloquence in the MSM. A true lion in a journalistic jungle increasingly populated by weasels, snakes and toadies. He will be greatly missed.

  30. July 4, 2019 8:24 am

    Reblogged this on Climate- Science.

  31. Frank Everest permalink
    July 4, 2019 8:48 am

    Here’s the Telegraph obit (minus pictures):

    Christopher Booker
    Campaigning journalist, founding editor of Private Eyeand for decades was a cherished Sunday Telegraphcolumnist
    Journalist Christopher Booker at the Offices of Private Eye
    Booker: the hallmark of his later journalism was a quizzical scepticism on subjects such as climate change and the European Union
    CHRISTOPHER BOOKER, who has died aged 81, was an influential figure in the “Swinging London” of the early 1960s, writing scripts for David Frost and the BBC late-night satirical reviews That Was The Week That Was and Not So Much a Programme More a Way of Life, and becoming founding editor of the satirical magazine Private Eye; he built a following of millions of loyal newspaper readers, particularly of The Sunday Telegraph, where he was a columnist for nearly three decades, as a sceptical, brave, wide-ranging and often funny campaigning journalist.
    In 1961 Booker was one of a group of school and university friends who started Private Eye. He had a considerable talent for parody, although his early writing was marked by sudden and unpredictable changes of ideological direction. Kenneth Tynan joked about the Eye: “When are you going to develop a point of view?”
    Then, in 1963, Booker experienced a Pauline conversion. Abandoning atheism, he returned to the Anglican faith of his childhood, and under the influence of Malcolm Muggeridge became a fierce critic of the sexual permissiveness of the age.
    The hallmark of Booker’s later journalism was a quizzical scepticism, a good deal of which was focused on scientific orthodoxy, though he himself had no scientific qualifications. He was a prominent climate change sceptic, highlighting contradictions in the arguments of his opponents and pouring scorn on the view – supported by most scientific research – that global warming is a reality and that it is mainly the result of human activity.
    He challenged medical experts on the toxicity of asbestos, the link between passive smoking and cancer, and the dangers to human health of the cattle disease BSE.
    His determinedly contrarian assaults on the scientific consensus infuriated as many readers as they delighted, the more so since he continued to defend his opinions even when, as sometimes happened, they were shown to be based on inaccuracies.
    He passionately opposed British membership of the EU and, with Dr Richard North, wrote two books attacking Brussels bureaucracy, The Castle of Lies (1996) and The Great Deception (2005). So it came as a surprise to some when, in the run-up to and after the 2016 referendum on Britain’s membership, Booker emerged as one of the most articulate critics of the Vote Leave campaign and the European Research Group.
    In the debate over climate change, Booker stood accused of ignoring the evidence. Yet this was exactly the charge he levelled at those calling for Britain to leave the EU, the single market and the customs union, without a deal if necessary.
    When Donald Tusk tweeted that he had been “wondering what that special place in hell looks like, for those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan how to carry it out safely”, Booker observed that the President of the European Council had been “entirely accurate in identifying the real cause of this insanely unnecessary shambles, the catastrophic consequences of which may be with us for decades to come”.
    Sunday Telegraph Christopher Booker
    Booker as a young man
    Christopher John Penrice Booker was born on October 7 1937 and brought up in Dorset near Blandford Forum in a prep school for girls run by his parents, John and Margaret Booker. He was sent to Shrewsbury School, where his headmaster later recalled that “he used to spend his Sundays collecting fossils”. Owing to poor eyesight he avoided National Service and instead read History at Cambridge. While there he declared that he wanted to “edit [his] own newspaper, marry a Duke’s daughter and appear on television”.
    After leaving university, Booker joined the Liberal Party and worked on Liberal News. In 1961 he became the jazz critic of the newly launched Sunday Telegraph, but ran into difficulties when the editor discovered that he had reviewed an Erroll Garner concert that had been cancelled at the last minute.
    Following this setback Booker was invited to link up with two old friends from Shrewsbury, Richard Ingrams and Willie Rushton, who were attempting to start a satirical magazine. The first issue of Private Eye appeared in October 1961, and within four months Booker had established himself as the editor. He held this position for just over a year.
    His early targets included Iain Macleod, Kingsley Amis, Tony Benn and the Duke of Edinburgh, and the attacks could be savage. There was outrage when the myopic novelist C P Snow was mocked for being blind. Sales increased, but Booker was no businessman and under his sometimes distracted leadership Private Eye ran into financial difficulties. A rescue operation was mounted by Peter Cook.
    It was Cook who said: “Satirists are like spiders – we are always devouring each other”, and in the summer of 1963 Booker was fired by his old school friends. They felt he had been spending too much time working for David Frost on television. Ingrams became the editor of Private Eye and remained at the helm for the next 23 years.
    Booker never fully recovered from this loss, saying later that he had regarded the magazine as “my baby” and was “horrified to have it snatched from me”.
    After leaving Private Eye, Booker – now known as “The Deacon” by his former colleagues – retired to a bedsitter near Victoria Station and restarted his life. He had a fondness for “gurus” such as Laurens van der Post, whose entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography he wrote, later rebutting claims by his biographer J D F Jones and others that van der Post was a fantasist.
    As the 1960s went on Booker was drawn to the psychoanalyst Carl Jung’s theory of “psychic epidemics”, which held that the greatest danger to mankind was man. He embarked on a study of “the revolution in English life in the Fifties and Sixties”, which was published in 1969 as The Neophiliacs, a critique of the obsession with “youth” and novelty in general which had in his view taken hold of British society.
    Booker had come to see the early 1960s as a collective flight into fantasy – a time of satire but no irony. He had been well placed to write the book, he said, “because more than anyone else at Private Eye I was caught up in the absurdities”.
    Willie Rushton dismissed The Neophiliacs as “his Private Eye stuff with the jokes taken out”. But Muggeridge endorsed Booker’s analysis, praising the young writer as “one of the most brilliant of his age”.
    Booker was one of the pioneers of attacks on skyscrapers and brutalism in architecture, and the destructive big-city property development boom of the 1960s and 1970s provided him with the material for his second book Goodbye London, which was published in 1973 and co-authored by Candida Lycett Green.
    By the early 1970s he had made up his differences with Ingrams and rejoined the nucleus of humorists – including Rushton, John Wells and Barry Fantoni – who supplied much of the satirical content of Private Eye. Late in life he was still attending the fortnightly jokes meetings.
    His renewed association with the magazine did not always go smoothly, however. In 1976, when Private Eye was on the point of being closed down by the enraged billionaire James Goldsmith, Booker joined in the attack. In an article in The Spectator he described the paper that was once again his principal employer as “on its day a strong candidate for the most unpleasant thing in British journalism”.
    He developed a particular animus towards Auberon Waugh, one of the Eye’s most popular contributors. The feud would reach its climax in 1990 when Waugh managed to oust Booker as the author of the “Way of the World” column in The Daily Telegraph.
    At this time Booker was also sitting on the unofficial “Klagenfurt Conspiracy Inquiry” (1986-90), chaired by Brigadier Anthony Cowgill, which attempted to clear Harold Macmillan and others of allegations that they had dishonourably assisted in post-war repatriations to the Soviet Union. One of the supporters of the original allegations had been Waugh.
    Booker listed “the psychology of storytelling” among his many interests – along with nature, music, playing village cricket and “teasing global warmists” – and in 2004 he published The Seven Basic Plots, a 700-page study which had been in gestation for more than 30 years.
    In 1977 he had summarised its theme: “Dr Johnson, Goethe and many others have had the suspicion that there were only a very limited number of satisfactory ‘plots’. What deep springs of the psyche throw up these curiously oft-repeated patterns – the Quest, Overcoming the Monster, Voyage and Return?” The others were Rebirth, Rags to Riches, Tragedy and Comedy.
    Fay Weldon suggested that The Seven Basic Plots should be given to all creative writing groups, and John Bayley described it as a “deep-flowing masterpiece of critical assessment”.
    In middle age Booker acquired an “absent-minded professor” appearance that was not entirely misleading. Charged with driving his wife Valerie to hospital to have her first baby, he managed to run out of petrol in the middle of the night on a remote lane in Somerset. Happily mother and child came to no harm.
    Other targets of his Sunday Telegraph column, which ran from 1990, included the secrecy surrounding the family courts, and he took up the causes of parents whose children had been taken from them by the decisions of social workers. His journalism carried an air of authority and his column was extremely popular among readers, who had the impression that they were at last getting a glimpse of the reality behind the scenes in the corridors of power.
    With the many editors who handled his column Booker was always chatty and took an avuncular interest in the progress of their lives. He memorised telephone extensions by translating them into Beethoven opus numbers. With his deep knowledge of culture he was a skilful setter of quizzes.
    He married, first, in 1966, Emma Tennant, a great figure in haute-Bohemia and a well-known novelist. The marriage was dissolved and he married secondly, in 1972, Christine Verity. That marriage too was dissolved, Christine subsequently marrying the historian Norman Stone.
    Booker is survived by his third wife, Valerie Patrick, whom he married in 1979 and with whom he had two sons.

    Christopher Booker, born October 7 1937, died July 3 2019

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      July 4, 2019 6:05 pm

      The Daily Mail had a short article on page 30 – no mention of his climate skepticism, just mention that he wrote about ‘the environment’. The new(ish) editor has made it clear he is well aboard the bandwagon, should we need any more confirmation. The DM obituary is a disgrace.

  32. europeanonion permalink
    July 4, 2019 12:16 pm

    I wish there was an opportunity for you to take on his column; you would be a worthy successor Paul.

  33. Graham Naisbitt permalink
    July 4, 2019 9:44 pm

    Amen to that and RIP Christopher Booker

  34. mjr permalink
    July 5, 2019 9:11 pm

    and of course today’s edition of the obituary radio show “the Last Word” on Radio 4 – Not a mention.. But then it is the BBC .. Miserable b*st*rds – no climate change bias there!

  35. July 6, 2019 7:57 am

    I read of Christopher Booker’s passing with a heavy heart. Christopher Booker was a great advocate for justice for parents with children wrongly taken by Social Services in Britain. An irreplaceable loss to this cause. For years he wrote, week upon week, the stories of children snatched from loving families for no good reason by the state, of parents betrayed by lawyers and social workers, grandparents punished just for wanting to see their grandchildren, immigrants denied the right to even speak in their mother tongue to their taken children at “supervised” contact sessions in grim council offices and pregnant women sectioned by social workers and courts and made to undergo forced c-sections for their babies to be handed over to waiting adopters. Christopher Booker bore witness to this litany of horrors in the name of child protection and diligently reported it to the world. In an age where journalists and intellectuals compete to show their allegiance to the received wisdom of the time, he stood out as a journalist and free thinker who spoke truth to power and courageously took up the cause of welfare class parents with taken children who are among the smallest, meanest and most forgotten of all people in the world. May Christopher Booker rest in peace in heaven with the god he served so well here on earth.

  36. avro607 permalink
    July 7, 2019 2:09 pm

    In my eyes Christopher,you were an inspiration.
    R.I.P.

  37. Mike Boulton permalink
    July 9, 2019 10:42 am

    As a fellow West Countryman I feel very sad and empty to hear of the death of Christopher Booker. His column was the first I read in the Sunday Telegraph every week. He made me aware of the man made global warming scam and it’s attendant lies. Mat your god be with you Christopher. R.I.P.

  38. Mike Boulton permalink
    July 9, 2019 10:44 am

    As a fellow West Countryman I feel very sad and empty to hear of the death of Christopher Booker. His column was the first I read in the Sunday Telegraph every week. He made me aware of the man made global warming scam and it’s attendant lies. May your god be with you Christopher. R.I.P.

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