"It is a fact of life that any discourse, on any subject, whatever the occasion and whatever the status of the speaker, will always please if it is five minutes shorter than people expect." - Paul Johnson
English journalist, historian, speechwriter and author Paul Bede Johnson was born in 1928 in Manchester, educated at a private Roman Catholic school, and then at Magdalen College, Oxford. After graduating with a second-class honours degree he completed his national service in the army mainly in Gibraltar (a tiny British territory on the south coast of Spain). In 1952 he went to work in Paris, first for a French magazine as assistant editor, and then as Paris correspondent for the New Statesman.
After witnessing Franco's regime during his military service and the ferocious police response to the 1952 riots soon after his arrival in Paris, Johnson became strongly left-wing in his outlook. But by the 1970s his political pendulum had swung to embrace a distinctly conservative outlook. During the 1980s he was one of Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's closest advisers and also wrote a regular column for the weekly conservative British magazine The Spectator (from 1981 to 2009), primarily addressing issues and events that he felt indicated a decline in society in general.
He still writes for The Spectator occasionally and also contributes to The Daily Telegraph, the The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and National Review. To date, in addition to numerous magazine and newspaper articles, he has he published over 40 books.
Strongly anti-communist, and popular with the conservative movement in the United States, he is known for statements that (would appear to intentionally) provoke. For example, some of his more controversial positions include defending Richard Nixon for Watergate and Oliver North's involvement in the 1986 Iran-Contra affair. Despite his early experiences with the regime during his military service, he apparently has been known to express qualified admiration for General Franco and, according to Heroes Are People, Too (2007), considers Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet one of his heroes.
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