Largely forgotten now, Peter Jenkins was in his time one of the most widely read and respected columnists and journalists in British journalism. He wrote principally for the leftist Guardian and Observer newspapers, and in so doing became a doyen of Britain’s post-war liberal establishment.
Brian Brivati and I edited this collection of his best journalism at the invitation of Jenkins’s widow, Polly Toynbee, herself a long-time columnist for the Guardian. We called the volume Anatomy of Decline because much of his writing in the 1960s and 70s dwelt on the country’s apparently inexorable economic decline and political dysfunction. He was very close to the founders of the Social Democratic Party, David Owen (who wrote a forward to the book), Roy Jenkins, Bill Rodgers and Shirley Williams, and he chronicles their rise and fall during the 1980s in great detail. He was always fun to read, and judging by many of his friends he was also great company.