Friends gather in Edinburgh to honour Arnold Kemp

VETERAN journalists, Harry Reid and Jack McLean, remembered their colleague, the late Arnold Kemp, at the Edinburgh launch of a new book of his journalism.

In the building where they worked together in the 1970s in Edinburgh – now the Scotsman Hotel – the pair addressed 100 friends in the ‘Russel Suite’, formerly The Scotsman’s features room, on Friday evening.

Reid called Kemp “indisputably the finest journalist of his generation in Scotland” and spoke of his importance in transforming the paper during his 20 years there, as trainee, London editor and production editor before spending nine years as deputy.

The book has been edited by Kemp’s daughter, Jackie – a freelance journalist.

Meanwhile, McLean (pictured), whose column first appeared in The Scotsman in the summer of 1979 under a photo of the writer in white hat – entitled ‘Travels of a Chauvinist’ – recalled his affection for his long-time boss. As ‘jack of all tirades’ and ‘the Urban Voltaire’, McLean became a popular columnist for many years. Kemp, he said, described his writing as “the language of the streets but with an ornate quality reminiscent of Edwardian literature”, words McLean said he would like to appear on his tombstone.

The book, Confusion to our Enemies: selected journalism of Arnold Kemp (1939-2002)’ (NWP), which also contains an account of Arnold’s stint at The Guardian in the 60s, his 14-year-term as editor of The Herald and last job as foreign news editor of the Observer, is available in bookshops and online, including the allmediascotland shop and

Pic: Bill Heaney