A blunder by the PM D Cameron in America was the inspiration for my third book, Real Britannia. He said Britain had been the 'junior partner' to the US in 1940 whereas the US didn't enter the war until Pearl Harbour in December 1941. He said 1940 was still our proudest year but that caused another row. YouGov then ran a poll on which is "our proudest year?". The results made ten chapters that fascinated me, and took me all over Britain and parts of N France with loads of surprises - such as Magna Carta is not quite how it seems, Agincourt was not won by the Longbow but by the mud and the archers' "bollock" knives, and Churchill commissioned the report in the depths of World War 2 that was to lead to the birth of the NHS....under Labour.
I've been in the Westminster village for 30 years for the Guardian, the Indy from its launch in 1986, the Indy on Sunday, the Sunday Telegraph, and the Indy again. I've also authored a biography of John Prescott, before he took office in the Blair government, which was also full of surprises. Then an historical biography of a street and some of the people who passed through including Lady Caroline Lamb and Lord Nelson. It is Whitehall - the Street that Shaped a Nation, which stemmed from JP's offices in the historic centre of Whitehall including Admiralty House.