THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD - MARCH 21 - 2.48pm
The astonishing Alan Johnson
As in ‘Wow!’
And while perhaps not surprising, I don’t think anyone expected it to be this good. This profound. This incisive. Or this entertaining for that matter.
Alan Johnson’s life story is of course an extraordinary one. Abandoned by his father when he was eight and then ‘orphaned’ at the age of 12 when his mother died, he was effectively brought up by his sister, just a few years older herself.
Yet from unimaginable hardship, poverty and heartbreak he rose to some of the highest offices in the land (Labour Home Secretary, Health Secretary, Education Secretary and Shadow Chancellor).
Doubtless comforted by the warm embrace of the Sheldonian and a supportive, encouraging audience, he talked with great openness, wit and generosity.
But as every single person in that auditorium knew, when Jeremy Corbyn’s name finally came up (12 minutes in to be precise) he deftly and clinically exercised his scalpel.
Supremely memorable, it’s undoubtedly proved the highlight of the festival so far.
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