Bernard Donoughue, Baron Donoughue

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Bernard Donoughue, Baron Donoughue (born 8 September 1934) is a British Labour Party politician, academic, businessman and author.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

According to his autobiography, Donoughue was born into poverty. He is the son of Thomas Joseph Donoughue.[3] He was educated at Campbell Secondary Modern School[citation needed] and Northampton Grammar School.[4] He then studied at Lincoln College, Oxford,[4] where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in 1957.[citation needed] He then attended Nuffield College, Oxford, where he graduated as a Doctor of Philosophy[4] in 1963.[citation needed] He was also Heary Fellow at Harvard.[5]

Political career[edit]

Donoughue went into politics to be "associated with Labour governments which defended the interests of working people and underprivileged people.”[6] Always at the centre of London, the capital and of politics, education and business, Donoughue was a member of the editorial staff of The Economist in 1959 and 1960 when a young Labour activist supporting Hugh Gaitskill. He was senior research officer of the Political and Economic Planning Institute between 1960-1963.[7] For a longtime a lecturer close to young people he was asked by the Wilson government to join the founding Sports Council, an advisory body to harness amateur physical recreation. Twenty years later he would make his first speech in the Lords on Sporting Events (controls) bill.[8]

A young idealist he took his first job was as a lecturer at the radical institute in Portugal street founded on liberal/socialist principles inclining students towards progressive change. He rose to a senior lecturer at the LSE between 1963 and 1974.[1] during a period of considerable expansion in tertiary sector education. Wilson took notice of his communication skills when he was appointed head of the policy research unit on 2 December 1976, after two years on the staff.[9][a] Two years before there were a flurry of questions in both houses about whether these unaccredited "political" advisers were paid from public funds. Wilson expanded the department in No.10 who had a profound influence like never before on policy formation.[10] For the first time the Official Report published the salaries; and as being part of the Civil Service department.[11]

He continued to head the team under Wilson's successor, James Callaghan, and he held the office until the defeat of the Labour Party in 1979.[12] He was an admirer and close friend of Jim Callaghan, whose relaxed 'beer and sandwiches' approach to political interaction contrasted to the intensity of successive prime ministerial conceited wisdom that demanded heavy studying. Bernard was something of an apologist for the Callaghan administration at a time when Trade Union leaders conduct of industrial relations threatened to put the Tories into office.[13]

Out of government from 1979 to 1981, Donoughue was development director of the Economist Intelligence Unit, and in 1982-83 was assistant editor of The Times until his dismissal by a new right-wing owner Rupert Murdoch. He gave his opinion in an interview with the New Statesman:

I’m very proud of that fact I was sacked by Murdoch. That’s an honour! There are quite a number of us with that honour, of course.

Donoughue was at the Times during Rupert Murdoch’s takeover and in his first year as proprietor, and he holds the media mogul responsible for what he dubs “a diminution in the values of our society”. News International were in the throes of a business revolution in Fleet Street. At its hub was the end of a closed shop for the skilled craftsmen of the print 'chapters' who zealously guarded their trade secrets. Murdoch's actions broke up the old union grip on the news print media. Journalists like Tony Benn were incensed but the Labour party were helpless to resist the changes from opposition.[14] At the time he lived in Hampstead & Highgate where John McDonnell was the party's candidate for a seat won by the Conservatives in the 'landslide' election of 1983.[15] A notorious gossip with the 'great and the good' his venomous ridicule for Murdoch extended to recruiting the moral support of royalty as the prospect of a New Labour grew ever closer.[16]

Donoughue was also chairman of the London Symphony Orchestra from 1979 to 1991, patron from 1989 to 1995, and has been an associate since 2000. Around this time, he was also one of the sources inside Whitehall used by the writers of the comedy series Yes Minister, the other one being Baroness Falkender.[17]

He was head of research and investment policy of Grieveson Grant and Co Stockbrokers from 1982 to 1986 and head of international research and director of Kleinwort Grieveson Securities Ltd from 1986 to 1988, a branch arm of the investment bank.[18] Following, Donoughue was executive vice-chair of LBI from 1988 to 1991, director of Towcester Racecourse Ltd from 1992 to 1997 and was made an honorary fellow of LSE.[19] From November 1995, shortly after the Euro sceptics had been defeated by the Major government, Donoughue, still a staunchly Labour peer was appointed to the Lords Works of Arts committee. He was not removed from this duty when a different civil dispensation came to power in 1997, until a clash with the New Labour leadership; but he was later appointed a trustee of the Victoria County History.

Donoughue helped found the British Horse Industry Confederation in 1999[20][21] and was a Consultant Member until 2003.[2] This coincided with appointment that September with co-option onto the joint Lords and Commons committee tasked with the responsibility of drafting a new Gambling bill. The outcome would be the licensing of so-called Big Casinos and a general release of universal internet betting rights. On 22 Dec 2015 he declared a gift to the bookmakers union.[22] The radical change to the status quo proved a revolution in working people's experience of gaming that would indirectly cause remedial action on payday loans.[23]

He was a visiting professor of Government at LSE from 2000 to 2011/2012.[24]

He became chairman of the SPRC when it was founded in 2003 and as of 2016 was still in that role.[25] The SPRC is a non-profit organisation operating on a cost recovery basis that

is responsible for the integrity of the starting price (SP). The majority of bets on British horseracing struck with bookmakers in betting shops and other off-course outlets are paid out according to the SP. The job of the Commission is to ensure that the returned price accurately reflects the price available on-course at the off.[25]

House of Lords[edit]

On 27 May 1985, he was created a life peer as Baron Donoughue of Ashton in the County of Northamptonshire.[2] He was at his best in the Lords praising the work of government with some eloquence. But he was not at his best on the trade debates, wrongly predicting the permanent decline of North sea oil in 1985; but correctly on the longer-term collapse of manufacturing, and the failure of the Finniston Inquiry that he had helped to set up at the department of Trade. But he made a plea for a "better educated and skilled workforce" that might have presaged New Labour.[26] He accused the oil industry of profiteering, rather passing on "beneficial translation" to the consumer. Much of the fault lay with the compulsory signatories to the Official Secrets Act.[27]

An active Life Peer he was an Opposition Labour spokesman for Energy, Heritage and Treasury matters from 1991–92.[2] In 1997, Tony Blair appointed him a junior minister at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, in which role he served until 1999.[2] "A strong belief in maintaining a rural community in this country...the heritage of the country.".[28] "I am antique Blue Labour", he remarked; his friends being Dr Cunningham and Jeff Rooker who were in the same department; being from solid working-class backgrounds they held similar beliefs, which was useful given as Donoughue himself admitted on his appointment he knew nothing about agriculture. He later joined the Countryside Alliance against New Labour's policy on Hunting with Dogs, the Foot and mouth disease outbreak and the sofa politics of No.10. In his advocacy of full checks and balances of Cabinet government that take time to work through policies, he deplored the messianic qualities of the Blair administration and a tendency towards authoritarianism that catapulted Britain into a desert wars in the middle east and came to dominate the agenda. Donoughue was a partisan of the Wilson and Callaghan era, in which he started a political career, who he claimed were real Labour people; the contrast with Blair's aloofness towards real people he believed was detrimental to the democratic processes of Whitehall governance.

An unashamed fan of the Yes Minister series he found a soulmate in Michael Heseltine "disappearing down the hall" as if the machinations of the programme were imbued with the falsity of serial humour. Lord Donoughue does not concur with the Far Left, and never has. In a surprising interview he concurred with the belief that Mrs May "had common sense" and he wished the Labour leadership also had some of that. The first edition of his Westminster Diary was published in August 2016. [29]

Personal life[edit]

Donoughue was married to Carol Ruth Goodman from 1959 until their divorce in 1989; they have two sons and two daughters.[30] He married Lady Sarah Berry, widow of Sir Anthony Berry, in 2009.[31]

Works[edit]

  • Bernard Donoughue and Janet Alker. Trade Unions in a Changing Society. London: PEP, 1963.
  • Bernard Donoughue. British Politics and the American Revolution: the path to war, 1773–75. London: Macmillan, 1964.
  • W. T. Rodgers; Bernard Donoughue. The People into Parliament: an illustrated history of the Labour Party. London: Thames and Hudson, 1966.
  • Bernard Donoughue and G. W. Jones. Herbert Morrison: Portrait of a Politician. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1973. ISBN 9780297766056
  • Bernard Donoughue. Prime Minister: Conduct of Policy Under Harold Wilson and James Callaghan, 1974–79. London: Jonathan Cape, 1987. ISBN 9780224024501
  • Bernard Donoughue. The Heat of the Kitchen: an autobiography. London: Politicos, 2004.
  • Bernard Donoughue. Downing Street Diary: Volume 1 – With Harold Wilson in No. 10. London: Jonathan Cape, 2004. ISBN 0224040227
  • Bernard Donoughue. Downing Street Diary: Volume 2 – With James Callaghan in No. 10. London: Pimlico, 2009. ISBN 1845950941
  • Bernard Donoughue. Westminster Diary: A Reluctant Minister under Tony Blair. London: I.B.Taurus, 2016. ISBN 1784536504

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ the full team was Dr. Bernard Donoughue whose salary was £9,828 per annum., Mr. Gavyn Davies, Mr. James Corr and Ms. Elizabeth Arnott. House of Commons Debates (HC Deb) 02 December 1976 vol 921 c212W; HL Deb 03 July 1974 vol 353 cc281-4

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Donoughue in Debrett's People of Today
  2. ^ a b c d e Donoughue Profile at the House of Lords website
  3. ^ "Donoughue, Lord, Baron Bernard, Life Peer", International Year Book and Statesmen's Who's Who, Brill Publishers, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c The Baron Donoughue, Burke's Peerage
  5. ^ Book about Jim Callaghan
  6. ^ B.D. interview with Stephen Bush on 17 Dec 2015. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  7. ^ which became the Policy Studies Institute in 1976. About PSI Office Page
  8. ^ HL Deb 03 February 1965 vol 262 cc1180-2;
  9. ^ Roy Hattersley for The Observer, 9 July 2005. "No one likes a sneak"
  10. ^ HL Deb 03 July 1974 vol 353 cc281-4
  11. ^ Official Report - advisers
  12. ^ Dennis Kavanagh for The Telegraph, 29 May 2003. Some unfinished business at No 10
  13. ^ B.D., Downing Street, vol.2 Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  14. ^ Harold Evans. Good Times, Bad Times. Athaeneum (1984). Chapters 12–13.
  15. ^ Stephen Bush interview. Retrieved on 3 August 2016.
  16. ^ B.D.'s Secret Diary extracts. dated 11 June 2016. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  17. ^ J. Lynn. Comedy Rules: From the Cambridge Footlights to Yes, Prime Minister. Faber & Faber, Aug 18, 2011 ISBN 9780571277971 .:98
  18. ^ Staff, Interview in Marxism Today, November 1987 City Strategies
  19. ^ LSE List of Honorary Fellows
  20. ^ BHIC About Us Page
  21. ^ Lords' Hansard 13 May 1999 : Column 1289
  22. ^ Federation of Course Bookmakers, 22 December 2015.http://www.parliament.uk/biographies/lords/lord-donoughue/2709.
  23. ^ B.D.'s resume
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 October 2011. Retrieved 2013-02-17.  Mile End Group at Queen Mary, University of London (archived)
  25. ^ a b Staff, Starting Price Regulatory Commission, June 2012. Starting Price Regulatory Commission Report 2011
  26. ^ HL Deb 03 December 1985 vol 468 cc1191-294.
  27. ^ HL Deb 19 February 1986 vol 471 cc637-81.
  28. ^ hard talk, 3 August 2016
  29. ^ 'Hard Talk', an interview by Mark Darcy, date 3 August 2016, Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  30. ^ Goodman entry in thepeerage.com
  31. ^ Andy McSmith for The Independent. 24 October 2009. "Village people: 24/10/2009"

External links[edit]