And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

3 December

1879
William Gladstone,
prime minister

‘Wrote to Miss Rose - Sir J. Watson - Eytinge (Tel.) Worked hard on my Glasgow Address: perhaps 6 hours or more. Walk after luncheon: fine bright frost all this time. Mr Campbell sang incomparable comic songs in evg. Conversation with Pr. Tulloch - & others.’

An account book of time

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1929
Sigmund Freud,
doctor

‘Anna’s birthday 34 yrs’

Anna with Gestapo

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1916
Maurice Hankey,
civil servant

‘After tea I went down to 10 Downing St. to find out if I could help in any way in the political crisis, having heard that the P.M. had come back to town. Lloyd George was closeted with the P.M. In Bonham Carter’s room I found assembled Montagu, Bonham Carter, Masterton Smith, Davies, and Marsh.

At the Unionist Ministers’ meeting in the morning a resolution had been passed demanding the resignation of the P.M., which Bonar Law had transmitted, but no-one seemed to regard it as more than a bluff to force the P.M. to give Lloyd George the chairmanship of the War Ctee. Shortly after I arrived LI. G. came out, and after a short palaver with Montagu, asked to see me, as he was awaiting the arrival of B.L. who had been sent for. Ll. George then told me that the Unionists had insisted that he should become Prime Minister, but he had flatly declined, and had insisted that he would only serve under Asquith. Apparently the P.M. had agreed that Ll. G. should have a free hand with the War Ctee, but there was a difficulty about personnel. Ll. G. insisted on Balfour’s leaving the Adty. He himself intended to remain S. of S. for War, and he saw that the First Lord in this event must also be a member, but he would not agree to Balfour. The only reason he gave for this was “too much wool”, but in my opinion he wants to be virtually “Dictator” and Balfour is too strong and dialectically too skilful to allow this. The P.M. however is in a difficult position in getting rid of Balfour, because, when he forced him a week or two ago to substitute Jellicoe for Jackson as First Sea Lord, he added his strong wish that Balfour should remain in office. Lloyd George wishes the War Ctee. to consist of Bonar Law, Carson, and Henderson the Labour man, and apparently the P.M. will put up with this but boggles only over Balfour, who cannot be left out if he remains at the Adty. While Ll. G. was with the P.M. we had foreseen this and Montagu had sent in a note to suggest that Balfour would probably be willing to offer his resignation, if he knew how much depended on it. Then Bonar Law arrived and he and Lloyd George were closeted with the Prime Minister for half an hour or so. Eventually they agreed, that the Cabinet should resign and the Prime Minister should reconstruct on the basis of the Lloyd George plan. This expedient enables the P.M. to get rid of Balfour decently by an exchange of offices. How the Unionist members will take it, and how McKenna and Runciman will take it remains to be seen. The new War Ctee. is really ridiculous. Bonar Law is by common consent the poorest figure on the present War Ctee. Carson, on the old Dardanelles Ctee. was positively pitiful and worse than Bonar Law. Henderson is an untried man, and it is scarcely possible that his education can have fitted him for the job. Really it all depends upon Lloyd George, who is brilliant but often unsound. The others are merely representatives of the noisiest groups in the House of Commons to prop him up, and there is no member of the House of Lords. No one would say that these four were the wisest heads to win the war - two are really feather heads. It is a mere political expedient of the most transparent kind to tide over a difficult crisis. My own position, if I retain the Secretaryship of the War Ctee will be very difficult. If they do foolish things I shall be bound to go to the P.M. about it and Ll. G. will always be suspicious of me and probably shunt me. Then there will be interminable rows with the General Staff, and Ll. G. is nearly certain to shunt Robertson and quite possibly may try and saddle me with the responsibility of giving military advice, a responsibility that in the first place does not pertain to my constitutional position, and in the second place will bring me into serious trouble with the General Staff and its Press myrmidons. Altogether a most difficult position, and one which I look forward to with the utmost apprehension, though not unmixed with amusement. If only I was financially independent, I should not mind a bit, and as it is, it has a spice of adventure that is attractive.’

Dreadful meetings

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1964
Waguih Ghali
, writer

‘In bed at night. This will be pompous and horrid but nevertheless: been reading An Area of Darkness (Naipaul). He will, hélas, never be a great writer (not popular, either, complimentary nowadays). Too engrossed with himself, his feelings, his thoughts which should only be a concern to himself and not expect others to feel. The ‘cab’ in Alexandria, whether imaginary or not, is too insignificant to build a philosophy upon, a theory and work. “He was a child, an innocent, a maker; someone for whom the world had never held either glory or pathos; someone for whom there had been no place.” This (page 43) could have emanated from a review (a cheap one, probably) of a work or man, but not a description of a man’s life in a work (Ramon in this case). No, no, ‘l’effort préalablement conçu’ as it were.’

Death in my heart

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1996
Mohammed Ayub Khan,
soldier and politician

‘Mr Pirzada, the foreign minister, saw me on return from Geneva where he had gone to meet our team who are fighting the Rann of Kutch case with India before the tribunal. It is understood that the Indians, finding their case weak, are now trying to gain time and influence the tribunal by other means. They have suggested to the tribunal to visit India for sightseeing and inspection of the Rann. Mr Pirzada was instructed to tell our representative on the tribunal to warn the president of the danger of this. If they listen to the Indians, they will only be exposing themselves to the charge of being bought.

Laid the foundation stone of Tibbi Institute being sponsored by Hakim Saeed. The doctors are very perturbed. They think that quacks are being given unnecessary encouragement. I warned in my address that unless Tibbis modernize their science and allow their research to be subjected to critical analysis, they would not be able to bluff their way through.

Attended a banquet given by the Pakistan British and Commonwealth Medical Council. It also included eminent scientists from several other countries. I had the pleasure of meeting several medical celebrities.’

Diaries of a Pakistan leader

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1969
Mohammed Ayub Khan,
soldier and politician

‘Rashidi came to see me this morning. I particularly wanted to see him to give him a bit of my mind on scurrilous articles he had been writing about me. I reminded him of what I had done for him from time to time. I appointed him as an ambassador over the head of foreign office advice to the contrary. They told me that he was a man devoid of any character and utterly lacking in scruples. He was capable of selling the country and this proved right when we heard from several sources that he had been selling our cipher and committing many other irregularities. Later, when he returned to Pakistan, I saw to his maintenance from different sources. In return what do I get, abuse from him. He was ashamed of his conduct and tried to make lame excuses. He said he had taken the courage to call knowing that I will forgive him and so on.

Rashidi told me not to give up the Muslim League. Otherwise the field would be left free for my enemies to take their revenge on me when the assemblies come into being. The answer was to appoint a suitable vice president. He thought that Qayyum would be a liability. Yusuf Haroon, Sardar Bahadur or even Khuhro might do.

About the recent declaration of the president on constitutional matters he said he found an undercurrent of resentment in the Punjab on the break up of one unit. They feel that the cause of Pakistan has been damaged and the process of disintegration started. Whilst they had made so many sacrifices in the national interest they also feel that Bengalis and the smaller provinces are out to do Punjab down. This feeling can assume explosive proportions and there is no leader of any stature in the Punjab to hold it in check.

There is no hope of the constituent assembly succeeding. Rashidi did not see how agreement could be reached on burning issues like the system of voting, division of powers between the provinces and the centre and the second house. He was sure that there will be a breakdown and then what? Politicians will certainly be discredited.

Rashidi said that basically Bhutto is a fascist. He is power hungry and wants to misuse it and victimize people. He did a good deal of that when he was a minister. All this talk of socialism is nonsense. Sindhi Mahaz knows that and will do all in their power to see that he does not get elected from Larkana. He said that Bhutto had no chance in Larkana even if there were more than one seat in the district from the central assembly. I did not agree with that. If Khuhro is untouched in his seat, who else will compete with Bhutto. He said there is a man that is being groomed. Bhutto is asking Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi to vacate his seat for him, which is doubtful. He said the only other way Bhutto can come into power is by becoming a minister by getting around Yahya. Having done that he will turn on Yahya or he will incite young army officers to rise against Yahya. G. M. Syed told all this to Yahya. Yet Yahya sends a personal message to Bhutto when the recent scuffle took place with him in Sadiqabad. This is unheard of. Bhutto is going to make full use of it to build up his image and give credence to believe that the president is in his pocket. He said Bhutto is spending money lavishly. A large number of people are paid upwards of 500 each. Most of the press correspondents are paid. Where is he getting all this money from?

Rashidi, along with G. M. Syed and others, went to General Sher Ali [Pataudi], the minister for information. They complained that in spite of the martial law regulations, anti-lslamic and communist propaganda was being made in the press which is full of communist views. They were going to explain more but Sher Ali cut them short by saying that he has already countered 80 per cent of them, 10 per cent more are on the point of conversion and he is working on the rest. Seeing that the man’s mind was shut and he had his own make believe they decided to take leave and came away as it was no use continuing with the talk.

Some people are asking the president to make his position clear vis-a-vis the assembly. They expect him to act purely as a constitutional president. In other words, endorse what the assembly says and become ineffective.

Asghar Khan has announced today that he has decided to retire from active politics now that his limited mission of removing the corrupt and despotic regime has been achieved and a clear guarantee has been given by the president that elections will be held and democracy restored. He will watch its progress with interest.

This announcement may have been caused due to frustration with the politicians who, having used him during the upsurge, are now giving him no place in party hierarchy or it may be a trick to become neutral and be available for an office to any party that comes into power. It may also be due to realization that he has no hope of getting elected from anywhere. I think he has made soundings in many places without much hope of success. He and Bhutto would, of course, have liked to have seen the presidential system stay in which they saw chances of being selected as a candidate by one party or the other.

When Asghar Khan talks about having achieved limited objectives of mission he, in fact, together with Bhutto has done much more than that. They have between them laid the foundation of destruction of this country by playing on the sentiments of the people and misleading them.’

Diaries of a Pakistan leader

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1995
Frank Pakenham,
politician

‘Yesterday one newspaper carried a prominent piece which was headed, ‘Hindley Will Make West Feel Life is Worth Living, Says Longford’. I am being asked continually if I am going to visit Rosemary West and give the same answer: I have never yet refused to visit a prisoner who requested a visit and I never will. If Rose West wishes to see me I will certainly go.

At the moment of writing, Rose West is in the hospital wing of Durham Prison, as is Myra. Myra broke her leg some time ago, and according to the paper she is being treated for a brittle-bone disorder. I met her new solicitor recently who told me she was in good form. I hope to receive a birthday card from her this week.

Rose West is being treated, not surprisingly, as a suicide risk and is widely reported as being very depressed. Her solicitor, however, insists that she is not depressed at all and hopes to move shortly to a normal wing.

The coming week I shall be making five speeches to mark my ninetieth birthday [. . .] There is an obvious danger of my turning these occasions into a series of ego trips. I am determined, however, to put some kind of message across. The best opportunity will occur at the press launch [of the paperback, Avowed Intent, a volume of Longford’s autobiography]. I have not had such an opportunity for years and I am not likely to have one again. Curiously enough the Rose West drama has given me an unrivalled opportunity to assert my ideal of ‘hating the sin and loving the sinner’, which has previously been lacking outside the House of Lords. For whatever reason Rose West does not seem to arouse the intense hatred which the tabloid press has taught the public to feel for Myra.’

Love the sinner

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In general, these diary extracts are quoted as given in the published (book or online) source referred to in the reference articles. Each extract may be all, a large part of, or a small part of the complete entry for that day. I have tried to indicate where text has been removed from within a quote by the use of trailing dots in square bracket.

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