John Rentoul meets Andrew Adonis (Independent)

Picked up the Independent on Sunday, for some beachside reading, and unexpectantly discovered a long article on Andrew Adonis, “I want change, but I’ll stay on Gordon’s train”.

The article provided an insert timeline (“The rise of Lord Adonis”), which includes the time he spent (1988) as a Fellow at Nuffield College. This is when I met Andrew. I had him as a lecturer for British History while I was a visiting student at St Catherine’s College. Fond memories of post-lecture tutorials in his office, which included him sharing some of his experiences as a Liberal Democrat councillor in Oxford.

Personally, I can recall his career trajectory from academic to Government minister. Andrew explained to me once that he could spend 20 years as an academic, without much effect, or he could take the plunge and immerse himself in journalism and politics. We know which path he chose.

I am particularly grateful for Andrew securing for me Prime Minister Tony Blair’s signature on a photograph taken at the announcement of the Good Friday Agreement. (I ultimately secured autographs from all three: Blair, Ahern, and Mitchell — the last one, in person.)

But the years have marched on and it’s been about a decade since we’ve last been in touch.

Meanwhile, Andrew’s been busy working on achievable objectives with an eye on history, as Rentoul puts it. Indeed, it’s what he put his mind to at least over 20 years ago, when I first met him.

About Allan Leonard

Working for a cohesive Northern Ireland society My special interest is Northern Ireland affairs, arriving from America at the time of the 1994 ceasefires. Currently serve as Director, Northern Ireland Foundation, an independent non-profit organisation based in Belfast. Previous posts include Policy Officer at the Northern Ireland Assembly, General Secretary of the Alliance Party, and Operations Manager at the Ulster Historical Foundation. Previously, I was responsible for the development and launch of the Troubled Images project at the Northern Ireland Political Collection, Linen Hall Library; this exhibit travelled worldwide. My professional background includes marketing, communications, exhibition and event management, policy development, and senior management. Received a MA degree in Irish Political Studies from University College Dublin, and a BA degree (with Distinction) in International Relations from Boston University. Views expressed here may not represent those of current or previous employers or associations.

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