PROFILE

Peter Mandelson tried to end Nick’s career in broadcasting with Labour-hostility claims

THE famous adage declares that someone’s bark is usually worse than their bite.

And, given the way Nick Robinson has ferociously grilled various politicians over the years, you would be forgiven for thinking that the journalist is in attack mode most of the time.

However, that could not be further from the truth as Nick, who spent a decade as the BBC’s political editor, is as courteous and softly-spoken as they come.

Indeed, there have been disputes aplenty with various politicians over the years, including Peter Mandelson and Alex Salmond, as well as former Labour strategist Alastair Campbell.

Yet he takes it all with a pinch of salt. After all, there is little room for sensitivity in the life of a hard-bitten political hack.

“I think there used to be a sense that you won your spurs, and that you would impress your party and your leader by facing a tough interview and performing well,” Nick told me from his London home.

“Whether they were facing Brian Redhead, Brian Walden or David Dimbleby, there was a sort of sense of pride in doing that.

“The difficulty we have now is that they can get to the top by avoiding being interviewed by people or being interviewed and just not answering the question.

“It should be a healthy part of the democratic process, holding people to account.”

Nick’s political nous is a long way from his early years in Cheshire.

Born in Macclesfield, his mother, Evelyn, was raised in Shanghai by German Jewish parents who had the foresight to leave for the Far East in 1933.

His father, Robbie, was not Jewish and Nick was not raised in any faith, despite the fact that he is, according to halacha, 100 per cent Jewish.

“My grandparents were not religious, but being Jewish was a key part of their identity,” Nick said.

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