Monday, August 1, 2016


Is the Cameron list of camerati to be honoured any worse than Harold Wilson's 'lavender list' of 1976 ?

Then, there were knighthoods and peerages for Labour party donors, but in the kitchen cabinet, the honours were of a lower order. Wilson's local agent got an MBE, as did the Labour Party's national agent. There was a peerage for his doctor, MBEs for the senior steward at Chequers, his driver, his housekeeper and three secretarys. There were British Empire Medals for the No 10 senior cleaner, senior messenger, telephonist and regular bobby.

There was a life peerage for John Vaizey, Ed Vaizey's economist dad. Lew Grade, Bernard Delfont and George Weidenfeld were also elevated to the peerage. There were knighthoods for John Mills, Stanley Baker and James Goldsmith. Mike Yarwood had to make do with an OBE.

Marcia Williams was Wilson's political secretary, and press secretary Joe Haines claimed she'd drafted the list on lavender paper, which she vehemently denied. The BBC made a docu-drama about the final years of the Wilson kitchen cabinet in 2006, and Marcia, then Lady Falkender, sued the Corporation for libel; Auntie settled out of court for £75,000 plus costs and promised never to show the thing again. Which is a shame: try this preview, by Joe Haines himself.  Baroness Falkender is now 84; her most recent claim as a peer was £25 for parking/taxi costs in June 2015.

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