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Sons quite unlike their fathers

22 February, 2018 — By John Gulliver

Sir Henry Brooke (left) and Toby Young

WHATEVER happened in the Brooke family in the 1930s and 40s is lost in time but somewhere along the line the son turned out – in many ways – the opposite of his father. That’s often the case.

Someone, I think it was James Joyce, wrote “A father is a necessary evil.” Take Toby Young, who, single-handedly – largely through his columns in the Spectator – created the Free School movement. He nudged his pal David Cameron to introduce Free Schools – and now hundreds of them exist. All a far cry from his father, the free thinking and great liberal thinker and sociologist

Lord Young whose views on education where opposite to those of his son Toby.

I thought of this when I read of the death of Sir Henry Brooke, the former Lord Justice of Appeal who died a few weeks ago at 81.

He was a great liberal figure in the judiciary and an opponent of the cuts in legal aid – as well as being a constant advocate for much needed reforms of the justice system.

I met him for the first at a party at a law firm in Camden a couple of years ago, and couldn’t help thinking of his father, also Henry Brooke, who was a Conservative Hampstead MP in the 1960s – and a notorious right-wing Home Secretary in the Macmillan government. He was known as a Home Secretary who rarely commuted a death sentence. He saw nothing wrong obviously in capital punishment.

How different his son Sir Henry turned out. His funeral will be held this week, I believe.


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