The origin of this essay lies in two commentary pieces I read in The Guardian newspaper. Hugo Young was a Guardian commentator to his fingertips: wellinformed, judicious, capable of seeing all sides of the argument. Which meant that for most of the time, as far as I was concerned, he was frustratingly moderate in his opinions, an archetypal liberal, which made this particular piece very striking. Young knew he was dying of cancer and that his column on 16th September 2003 would be the last one he wrote. He chose to write about the relationship between Britain and the USA, and the final words of the column, the final words he would write — so the written equivalent of the deathbed quotation — asked what would become of our country now it was ‘in abject thrall to Bush and his gang’. Then in August 2005, the historian Timothy Garton Ash offered this comparison:
Hulme, Peter, Remember the mane: A special poetic relationship, 1895–1904, Kunapipi, 34(2), 2012.