Arnold Kemp was inarguably one of the finest journalists of his generation. Always fearless, tenacious and passionate about his craft, he brought vision and a warm humanity to his distinguished stint as editor of the then Glasgow Herald. He was funny, erudite and an inspiration to those who worked with him. Arnold remains a sad loss to the Scotland he loved.
Rt Hon Alistair Darling, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, March 2012
Arnold Kemp was a fine editor and a Scottish man of letters whose interests and knowledge not only encompassed Scotland’s national life but extended far beyond. This collection of Arnold’s work – covering many of the important events at home and abroad during his professional life – is a fantastic read, and the passage of time brings new insights into his always eloquently expressed views and observations.
First Minister Alex Salmond, MSP
ARNOLD Kemp was the complete newspaperman: an expert production journalist, an inspiring editor and a writer of rare elegance, wit and acuity. He was also the man who had most influence on my career and a dear friend.
I can't pretend I read this selection of his journalism with detachment. Ten years after the rupture of a life pursued with passion, he is still missed by all who were close to him. For others who knew and worked with him, or daily bought the two great newspapers which were the principal beneficiaries of his gifts, Jackie Kemp, his journalist daughter, has recovered not only his presence but much of his talent and spirit.
Few old friends or colleagues will read this book without tears, laughter and - the response Kemp most relished - the urge to challenge his opinions long into the night. What of other readers? It's often said that journalism by its nature has no shelf life and even its stellar names are remembered only by other journalists.
There is a new generation with little knowledge of Kemp's impact on The Scotsman (as deputy editor) and The Herald (as editor) over four decades of rapid technological, political and social change. But for anyone interested in the fast-moving evolution of Scotland's politics and the ongoing arguments about Scottish identity his work remains topical. This newspaperman not only grasped the zeitgeist but anticipated the future, which was only just taking shape in the new Scottish Parliament when he died.
Culturally and politically, Kemp was a Scottish patriot. He championed Scotland, but never parochially, exploring Europe east and west, the US, and the cities he loved best: Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Dublin and Paris, where few were better equipped to combine the jovial pleasures of the flaneur with the intense appetites of the intellectual.
Kemp sensed in himself the "ever-lasting struggle between the bourgeois and the bohemian"; and it was perhaps this tension which made him the outstanding Scottish journalist of his generation.
Julie Davidson, The Scotsman, 8 Sept 2012