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Political journalist Hugo Young dies

The senior political commentator and Guardian newspaper columnist Hugo Young died at home last night, aged 64, after a long illness.

I used to worship Mr Young’s Mount Olympus of a column, many years ago, turning to it even before the daily Steve Bell cartoon, and have retained a soft spot for him to this day. I suppose that may have been because one dark evening Mr Young had to endure the lefty ravings of some drunken young student from Sheffield University, at some Guardian/NUS bash or other, as this young acolyte tried to suck out some of the greatness from the Great Man of the Left. But being from Sheffield himself, Mr Young tolerated this intoxicated idiot for quite some time, before breaking away to escape into the night.

That conversation taught me two things. One was to try to listen, and the other was to try to think. Hugo Young may have been one of our main political opponents, but he was also one of our best political opponents because he thought about what it was he wanted to say, before he then said it. He was also one of the few men on the Guardian unafraid of calling any situation how he saw it. For example, he recently said of David Blunkett:

At the apex of anti-liberalism, bragging his contempt, sits the most dangerous home secretary this country has ever known.

Well said, sir. The Left is seriously weakened by Hugo Young’s departure from this mortal coil, and shall not see his like again.

And although this post may seem strange, I felt compelled to write it. For although Hugo Young was a Titan standing in our way, from initial stirrings raised in that long ago conversation I must thank him for helping me to escape from the clutches of this self-same Left, and especially from men like David Blunkett. Hugo Young truly was a Great Man. May his soul Rest in Peace.

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