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News > Arts & Culture > Tennant Lecture Series, Harry Cole

Tennant Lecture Series, Harry Cole

Harry Cole (SH 03-05) gave an entertaining and fascinating Tennant Lecture on the state of Westminster.
6 Jan 2023
Written by Tara Biddle
Arts & Culture
Adrian Ballard, Harry Cole, David Tennant
Adrian Ballard, Harry Cole, David Tennant

Harry Cole was always an engaging boy to teach, ready even then with the sharp one-liners fundamental to his chosen journalistic profession. He was well true to that form in the entertaining and fascinating Tennant Lecture he gave at Tonbridge on 10 November, an engagement agreed well back in the summer but now fortuitously coinciding with the publication of his book Out of the Blue about the rise and fall of Liz Truss. He spoke warmly of his time at Tonbridge, his forsaking of law school to embark on journalism after university in Edinburgh, and his editing of the Guido Fawkes website which delighted in unmasking the peccadilloes of politicians. He is now political correspondent of The Sun and professed himself exhausted after the shenanigans of the last months, remarking that in the 17 years since he had sat his A/Levels in Big School, Britain has been through seven Prime Ministers – and he did not have much confidence in the longevity of the current incumbent.

Harry helped us to understand how the rapid rise of social media had re-shaped the news agenda and the political world, meaning that stories could not always wait for the morning paper but often had to be broken on Twitter or some other medium. In his talk and over 40 minutes of questions, he ranged across a wealth of subjects including his belief that Boris was unlikely to return to high office, the reasons why Liz Truss was in such a hurry and his journey on a tank to deliver a million signatures to the BBC demanding the lifting of Jeremy Clarkson’s suspension. The audience was fully engaged with his revelations which were further developed in the many questions which followed, although collective optimism about the immediate future was in short supply.

David Walsh


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