George Gale (journalist)

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George Stafford Gale[1][2] (22 October 1927– 3 November 1990)[3] was a British journalist who was editor of the British political magazine The Spectator from 1970 to 1973. Son of George Pyatt Gale, a clerk in the National Insurance Audit Department[4] and second lieutenant in the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers during World War I,[5] and Annie Watson (née Wood), Gale descended from the Gale family of Scruton Hall, Yorkshire;[6] he was raised a Presbyterian.[7] Gale was educated at the independent Royal Grammar School, Newcastle, and Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he graduated with a double-first in History.[8] He also studied at the University of Göttingen; he retained an interest in German philosophy throughout his life.[9]

In 1951 he joined the Manchester Guardian as a leader writer and reporter on Labour Affairs. In 1955 he moved to the Daily Express where he remained until 1967[8] (he returned there 1976–86) when he joined the Daily Mirror for three years until he took up the position at The Spectator.

His time at The Spectator is best remembered for his support of Enoch Powell and his appointment of Peter Ackroyd as its literary critic. After Auberon Waugh changed Gale's name in the published list of contributors to either "Lunchtime O'Booze" or "Lunchtime O'Gale" (accounts vary, but "Lunchtime O'Booze" is the Private Eye term for the archetypal drunken journalist), Waugh was sacked from The Spectator by its then editor Nigel Lawson. Gale, ironically, invited Waugh back after he had become editor.

He also enjoyed a long stint as a columnist on the Daily Express and in the mid-1980s was a regular panellist on the revived version of television's What's My Line. Gale's fondness for alcohol was also reflected in Private Eye's habit of referring to him as "George G. Ale".

Gale also presented a morning phone-in programme from 1973 until about 1976 for LBC,[8] a commercial radio station in London.

In 1951 Gale married his first wife, Patricia (daughter of cable manufacturer Charles Francis Holley, and later wife of the historian Maurice Cowling);[10][11] there were four sons of their 32-year marriage. His second wife was Mary Kiernan Malone, formerly film critic at the Daily Mirror.[12][13]


  1. ^ Who was Who, A Cumulated Index 1897-2000, St Martin's Press, 2002, p. 302
  2. ^
  3. ^ Who was Who vol. VIII 1981-1990, A. & C. Black, p. 274
  4. ^ The London Gazette, 7 March, 1924, p. 2040
  5. ^ Supplement to the London Gazette, 29 November 1915, p. 11911
  6. ^ England: An Elegy, Roger Scruton, Chatto & Windus, 2000, p. 140
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b c Dennis Griffiths (ed.) The Encyclopedia of the British Press 1422–1992, London and Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1992, p.257
  9. ^
  10. ^ Jonathan Parry, 'Cowling, Maurice John (1926–2005)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, online edn, May 2009, accessed 29 Dec 2018.
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Who was Who vol. VIII 1981-1990, A. & C. Black, p. 274
Media offices
Preceded by
Nigel Lawson
Editor of The Spectator
Succeeded by
Harold Creighton