But not a word about his illness. It is a series of rapid fire questions and answers on a range of topics, with little elaboration. Here are a few interesting bits:
Several chapters are devoted to your Trotskyist youth. What attracted you to the left?
The name. It was the left opposition to Stalinism, capitalism, imperialism – and war, of course. The intellectuals associated with the International Socialists seemed to grasp that point.
Would you say you’re a neo-conservative now?
I’m not a conservative of any kind. A faction willing to take the risks of making war on the ossified status quo in the Middle East can be described as many things, but not as conservative.
And what do you make of Obama’s presidency?
It’s quite clean. The people working for him are relatively straight and honest. But what he’s finding out is that the power of the presidency is very slight. There are all kinds of things that are just not under his control.
If you hadn’t been a writer what would you have done?
I’d have been someone else. It’s what I am, rather than what I do.
Do you ever wish you’d gone into politics?
I did want to run for Parliament. Tavistock Labour Party could have had me if it wanted.
Is there anything you regret?
In the 1970s, I wrote a lot about Zimbabwe for the New Statesman, opposing the Smith government and the British indulgence of it. I met Mugabe a couple of times in the course of that. I could tell there was a dark side to him and I ought to have said more about that than I did.
Do you vote?
Of course. I vote and I do jury duty.
I do not know what I would do were I on trial for something and saw Christopher Hitchens in the jury box.
Thanks to Sydni for the heads up.